PETALING JAYA: The Kelantan government says the perception that illegal logging had caused the tigers to enter Orang Asli villages in Gua Musang was wrong.
Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah was quoted by Malay daily Sinar Harian as saying that the tigers did not enter villages due to a loss of habitat.
"A statement by Kelantan Perhilitan said that the tigers had entered the villages after contracting a disease that rendered them unable to hunt as they normally do.
"Therefore, it is not right to blame logging solely. The same goes for floods, where we blame logging whenever it occurs," he told reporters after the state exco meeting at Kota Darul Naim on Wednesday (Jan 26).
He added that the government did not have any plans to relocate the Orang Asli villagers as the community was more comfortable living in their current location.
“At the same time, Perhilitan is continuing efforts to track the remaining two tigers, and we believe this problem can be solved soon.
“We advise the Orang Asli community not to leave their homes as more assistance will be given for them to continue with their lives,” he said.
Mohd Amar added that while the Kelantan government admitted the existence of illegal logging in the state, it does not think it is that prevalent in the state.
"Illegal logging happens all across the country, but this issue is not that serious in Kelantan.
"By this, I mean that when villagers want to build orchards or plant durian or oil palm, they will cut trees," he said.
He further explained that it was an offence to log illegally, especially in forest reserves.
“The Kelantan Forestry Department has also carried out enforcement operations upon receiving information on illegal logging.
“We do not tolerate these issues and will take the necessary steps if there are parties proven to carry out illegal logging,” he said.