GUA MUSANG, Sept 18 — The government plans to develop the Orang Asli settlement at  Pos Gob here as a tourist destination beginning next year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the holistic approach will be beneficial to the locals, besides being in line with the government’s hope to develop the Orang Asli community.

He said, the government viewed seriously the issues faced by the Orang Asli community especially in eradicating poverty as the poverty rate in the community is the highest in the country.

“God willing, once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, we want Pos Gob to be developed as a tourist point.

“Besides that, there are chalets here that needed to be repaired as a tourist attraction,” he told reporters after a working visit at the Gua Musang Orang Asli Covid-19 vaccination programme at Pos Gob here today.

Present at the event were Rural Development Deputy Minister l Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Mohamad, Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) director-general Sapiah Mohd Noor, Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid and Nenggiri state assemblyman Ab Aziz Yusoff.

Commenting further, the Jeli Member of Parliament, said the Orang Asli settlement has the potential to be developed after a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, (UKM) economic study in the area in 2017 showed the area has the potential to be developed.

“In the study, they saw the potential of the area to be developed since its surroundings have forests, caves and even rivers suitable to be used as an eco-tourism area.

“In fact, at Pos Gob, a model was developed encompassing education, health and economic programmes to upgrade the Orang Asli community with the cooperation of UKM, JAKOA and also CIMB Bank. The move is said to have a positive impact,” he said.

He also said the smart partnership model between JAKOA, private sector and university would be used in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to ensure that Orang Asli resources could be diversified.

“The government plans to use this model to develop several Orang Asli villages in Tapah, Perak for the purpose of tourism and we will provide allocations to develop the area,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ab Aziz said he welcomed the government’s plans to develop Pos Gob Orang Asli settlement because the area has enormous  potential.

“The area is untouched, especially the waterfall which is arguably one of the most beautiful and it is also suitable for four-wheel drive (4x4) enthusiasts,” he said. — Bernama