PETALING JAYA, July 30 — The Temiar Orang Asli community in Gua Musang, Kelantan has erected blockades in yet another desperate attempt to prevent wanton destruction and deforestation in their neighbourhood.
A spokesman, Dendi Johari, told Malay Mail the community is trying to resist a company attempting to develop Musang King durian and rubber clone projects at the Pos Simpor area.
He also claimed that the irresponsible company has allegedly destroyed 400 hectares of their ancestral land.
“The blockade is to prevent the projects as it trespassing on our ancestral land territory,” he told Malay Mail, adding that the tribe has built the blockade starting from February 18 this year until now.
Dendi also revealed that the company has tried to bribe them with Musang King durian trees, only to be declined by the Temiar.
It also persuaded the tribe not to block the project, claiming to have received approval from the Kelantan state government.
“This company is very stubborn, they even kept the logging trucks and four-wheel drives to block everyone from going in and out of the main road,” he added.
It is understood that tomorrow, the company will come to the blockade to have a talk with the tribe.
“But we, the blockade community will continue to defend and control the ancestral land from being infringed by the company. Whatever happens, happens. The Kelantan government never cares about the rakyat’s issue like us, Temiar,” he said.
Dendi said he lodged a police report at Gua Musang police headquarters yesterday regarding the provocation made by the company at the blockade — including alleged insults against his tribe.
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Meanwhile, in a public Facebook post two days ago, renowned lawyer and Orang Asli activist Siti Kasim said that for the last four months, the Temiars have been holding on to stop further destruction to their lives.
“The last couple of days, I have been on alert because the people who are involved in the durian plantation are using aggressive methods in trying to break down the blockade.
“This company is planning to plant 1,000 acres of Musang King durian trees in the jungle close to the Temiars settlement and on their ancestral land,” she wrote.
Siti also claimed that the planters have been threatening the Temiars with firearms, bringing gangsters and acting aggressively.
“They brought in Malays who use the racist card by shouting “Malay rights!” to the Temiar. They brought ghost lorries to bulldoze the blockade but luckily the driver got cold feet in doing so.”
For the tribe, the forest is where they seek shelter, hunt for food as well bury their dead, and they have been doing so for centuries without any incident.
But all this is rapidly changing due to aggressive deforestation by developers which is sanctioned by the PAS-led Kelantan government.