Orang Asli: Projects too close for comfort


Losing their land: Mohd Radi (left) and other villagers holding up photos of digging and quarrying on their ancestral land in the Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highland area.

IPOH: The Orang Asli living along Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highland have voiced their anxiety over projects near their settlements.

The community from Kampung Ulu Piah and Kampung Pergom said that such works were taking place just a few kilometres away from their villages.

Mohd Radi Shang Gang, 49, a committee member from Kampung Ulu Piah, claimed that these projects which included digging for kaolin and quarrying were damaging their land.

“We are getting tired and disappointed, ” he said when met at Kampung Pergom near here.

Mohd Radi said they had sent letters to the Perak Mentri Besar office and Land Office but had yet to receive a reply.

“We do not know what else we should do. We tried contacting the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) but nothing has been done so far, ” he claimed.

When contacted, Perak and Kedah Jakoa director Harulnizam Abd Rahmand said he would refer the issue to Jakoa district’s department.

“To my knowledge, we have not received any information regarding these projects.”

“However, we will investigate the matter, ” he said.

Kampung Pergom village head, Tok Batin Ngah Amin, 60, hoped the state government would look into the matter.

“We have over seven villages here. Villagers rely on the forest to look for produce to earn a living, ” he said, adding that the Orang Asli were slowly losing their ancestral land.

“We look for herbs and fruits in the forest and in return, we plant trees so that the future generations can make use of it, ” he said.

“But if we no longer have access to enter the land or if the land has been cleared, what will happen to the villagers?” he asked.

Kumpulan Aktivis Sahabat Alam president Mohamad Hafizudin Mohd Nasarudin said the group was working together with the community to map their land.

“Once we have finished mapping their area, we will continue with collecting the history, culture and ecosystem of the area.

“We will then send the documents and maps to the state government in hopes that the land will be gazetted as Orang Asli ancestral land, ” he said.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad said on Feb 9 that three limestone hills, namely Gunung Lanno, Gunung Terundum and Gunung Rapat near Simpang Pulai have been gazetted under the Batu Gajah District’s Local Plan 2025 as a mineral and rock industry economy zone.

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Orang Asli , Simpang Pulai , quarry ,

   

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