Perak govt okays removal of illegal blockade from state land

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu speaks during a press conference at the Weil Hotel in Ipoh May 7, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu speaks during a press conference at the Weil Hotel in Ipoh May 7, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 16 — The Perak state government has given the green light to authorities to remove a blockade that was put up illegally on state land at Kampung Tasik Cunex in Gerik, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said.

He said the state decided to take the action after scrutinising all complaints and from the legal aspect.

Giving a chronology of events via a statement today, Ahmad Faizal said residents of Kampung Tasik Cunex were formerly from Kampung Sungai Sarok.

“Due to a misunderstanding with the Kampung Sungai Sarok village chief, 26 families decided to move out in early 2017 and encroached into Air Cepam Forest Reserve.”

“A logging concessionaire was later approved for two compartments in the Air Cepan Forest Reserve area but was objected to by Kampung Tasik Cunex villagers, claiming that it would lead to water pollution,” he said..

Ahmad Faizal said villagers had claimed they were forced to put up the blockade as there were no discussions with them and the blockade was also done on their customary land.

“However, checks showed that the government has yet to recognise the area as customary land as claimed by the villagers,” he said.

“On April 3, the Gerik district office issued a letter to the villagers to open up the blockade citing Section 425 (1) (a) of the National Land Code 1965 whereby it is an offence to occupy or construct any building on any Government land, reserve land or mining land.”

Ahmad Faizal said to avoid confrontation with the villagers, the concessionaire had tried to use an alternative route to remove the logged timber but that too was blocked by the villagers.

“On April 9, the Gerik district office again sent a notice informing villagers to remove the blockade in two weeks and the deadline to do so was on April 23.”

“During the removal, the villagers put up a human shield and the matter was sensationalised by a certain non-governmental organisation which claimed this was a form of bullying against the Orang Asli community,” said Ahmad Faizal, noting that separate police reports had been lodged by the villagers and the concessionaire due to the incident.

Ahmad Faizal promised actions would be taken if investigations found there were elements of crime or violence.

Ahmad Faizal’s response came following a viralled video today showing authorities removing the blockade.

During an interview with the media on Sunday in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s one-year administration in Perak, Ahmad Faizal lamented that the state government was facing resistance from NGOs when it comes to developing the state.

Without naming the NGOs, Ahmad Faizal blamed them for disrupting the state government’s effort to develop Perak.

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