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IPOH, Nov 23 — The Perak Forestry Department blockade from Pos Kuala Mu road until Bawong in Sungai Siput is not meant to disturb the livelihood of the Orang Asli community there, said its director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusof
He said its purpose was to monitor vehicles carrying logs, oil palm and rubber.
“The blockade was imposed as we want to make sure no forest offences are committed by the licenced loggers,” he said in a statement today.
Mohamed Zin also said the department requested the public to apply for a permit before entering the Piah Reserve Forest as it is for their own safety, as once they enter the forest the department has to be responsible for them.
“The decision was taken after a meeting was held between the Forestry Department, Sungai Siput District Land and Mines Department and representatives from the Public Works Department on November 15.
“This is the reason why the public have to apply for a permit at the Kuala Kangsar Forest District Office before entering the forest. However, residents or Orang Asli do not need to have a permit,” he added.
He also stated that Section 47 of the National Forestry Act 1984 requires the public to have a permit before entering a forest reserve.
Mohamed Zin also urged members of the public who wanted to enter forest reserves for recreation or eco-tourism to apply for a permit so that the department can keep track of them.
Today, Malay Mail reported that the residents of four Orang Asli villages in Pos Kuala Mu are distressed with logging activities which are hampering their livelihoods.
The Orang Asli in the affected villages said they have lost their forest source due to logging, and the 28-km road which connects the villages to the nearest town has been damaged by heavy lorries.
The natives from Kampung Toh, Kampung Kuala Mu, Kampung Bersah and Kampung Batu Kaper further alleged that the land clearance have destroyed the wildlife path.
Mohamed Zin said the road leading to Orang Asli villages was constructed on the existing stretch which was used by loggers to transport logs.
“The stretch was first created to allow the loggers to transport the logs. However, since it is also used by the Orang Asli there, the Ministry of Rural Development had constructed the road.
“But now the Orang Asli have complained that the roads are damaged due to logging transportation. Not to worry, the repair work already started two days ago by the Forestry Department,” he added.