Aid convoy to remote Orang Asli settlements in Kelantan forced to turn back

GUA MUSANG: More than 150 participants of the “Bergagoh Ma Senoi Bek” four-wheel drive (4WD) convoy programme to offer food aid to the most remote of Orang Asli settlements had to call off the mission after the route to the location became impassable.

Separated into two groups for the humanitarian journey to deliver food aid to the Orang Asli community at Pos Gob near here, the convoy in 41 four-wheel drive vehicles - under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) - was forced to come to a halt by treacherous terrain.

Nenggiri assemblyman Abd Aziz Yusoff said all the participants had to cancel the expedition to Pos Gob due to the bad roads and rainy weather, while landslides made it impossible to get to their destination.

"The programme was to provide food aid to the Orang Asli community who live in the most remote of rural areas that have the toughest roads in the district. The convoy of 41 four-wheel drive vehicles started at the Nenggiri state assembly centre on Tuesday at 7.30am and was expected to arrive at Pos Gob in the evening of the same day.

"However, 15 were stranded near Kampung Kajang while the remaining 26 vehicles were stranded earlier in Kampung Gawin," he said in Kampung Kajang here Wednesday (Oct 5).

According to Abd Aziz, despite being trapped for more than a day in the forest with several incidents of participants slipping in the muddy terrain and vehicles getting hopelessly stuck and some even overturning, all the participants remained enthusiastic throughout the journey, and they left for Gua Musang town yesterday.

"All participants are safe but worn out," he said.

It is understood that the food aid, intended for delivery to the Orang Asli community at Pos Gob, has been handed over instead to the residents of Kampung Kajang and Kampung Gawin.

University student, Mohd Zaidatul Azizi Mohd Zaidatul Azman, 22, said the experience of being in a stuck vehicle and waiting to be rescued was terrifying.

"The unnerving experience of being stranded was agonising, you could say that we were all almost helplessly stuck and (that was) very scary, it felt like I couldn't even believe that help had arrived with a rescue team to save us.

"It was a very exciting experience even though I felt very disappointed, but no matter what we did, we were fated to be stranded here," he said.

As for Kartini Mohamed, 43, the mission to deliver aid to Pos Gob was her fourth, and she could not hold back her disappointment after the failed attempt.

"I'm disappointed that I can't make it to Pos Gob, but if there's another one, I'll join again because I'm really interested in this kind of extreme activity," she said. - Bernama

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