Orang Asli land threatened

Nowhere to go: Residents gathering outside as reporters visit their village in Gua Musang. — Bernama

GUA MUSANG: Alarmed by the rampant land clearing near their settlement to make way for agricultural activities, the Orang Asli residents of the Temiar tribe in Kampung Kelaik, Pos Blau, here have urged the state government to gazette their native customary land.

A resident, Uda Busu, 42, said only 100 people are left at the settlement from the initial 200 because most of them had to move to nearby iron ore mining areas as food and forest products were becoming scarce.

According to him, the settlement is now surrounded by agricultural projects such as durian and oil palm estates.

“Recently, residents’ rambutan, rubber and durian farms at Kuala Cenroi (Pos Blau) were destroyed by a company and we were not given compensation. We do not know who to approach to claim for compensation.

“If the land is gazetted as our land, we will not have this problem, but now we are treated like outsiders.

“We are also Malaysians; the authorities should meet us to discuss matters before giving permission to the company involved,” he said at Kampung Kelaik, Pos Blau.

Another resident, Billy Ibrahim, 39, said he is very worried over the fate of the people living at the settlement and urged that the gazetting of the customary land be resolved immediately.

“We appeal for the authority’s cooperation to declare that the Orang Asli of Kampung Kelaik hold customary rights to the land.

“Now we are tightly squeezed and maybe after this, we will soon be forced to live in trees, under bridges or by the roadside,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kelantan Orang Asli Villages Network deputy chairman Nasir Dollah, 36, said the gazetting of Orang Asli land would guarantee that the community’s settlement area would not be encroached.

“If there is no black and white, of course the area that we consider to be Orang Asli land could be taken away at any time. In other states, the land has been gazetted, but not our settlement here,” he said. — Bernama

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