IPOH, Jan 6 — Perak Forestry Department Director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusop today denied that the department had threatened the Orang Asli community in Kampung Cunex, Gerik.
"I'm aware of the allegations made by the Orang Asli community that they were threatened by our officers during the construction of blockades as a sign to halt the logging activity near their stay.
"However, based on our investigation, our officers only met the Orang Asli there to give them an explanation about the logging activity. We strongly deny using any elements of intimidation over the Orang Asli throughout the explanation session," he said in a statement.
"Throughout our dealings with the protests made by Orang Asli in Perak, we never used any sort of intimidation or harassment on any individuals," he added.
Online news portal Free Malaysia Today reported that the Orang Asli community in Kampung Cunex was threatened by the forestry department officers after creating a blockade to prevent logging activity from destroying 80 ha of land, which also involves their ancestral land and settlements.
The Orang Asli community lodged a police report on February 1 over claims that they were intimidated by the forestry department officers.
Mohamed Zin said that his department is willing to cooperate with the authorities over the police report lodged by the person who represents the Orang Asli community.
However, Mohamed Zin said that the logging activities were only approved in the area of the Air Chepam Forest Reserve and not in the Orang Asli ancestral land as claimed by the community.
"Perak also follows the annual cut ration (catuan tebang tahunan), which was set by the National Land Council, which is about 7,744 ha by practicing selective logging. Only trees which match the standard are allowed to be cut after going through the tagging process.
"Therefore, the allegation made by the Pertubuhan Khazanah Alam Malaysia that logging activity in Perak is not controlled is baseless," he said.