KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 ― The state government should take responsibility by enforcing action against loggers that are allegedly impinging the rights of the Temiar Orang Asli in Kelantan, Umno’s Gua Musang MP said today.
Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said the blame should not be shifted to the federal government as the PAS-led state government has purview over these matters.
“I think the state government should take action. It’s not for the federal government. And for me as an MP, we can only voice our views to protect Orang Asli,” he told reporters when met at the sidelines of the Umno general assembly today.
Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob has since denied yesterday that the Kelantan state government was involved in the arrest of Orang Asli at a two-month-old blockade in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
Earlier this month, Ahmad reportedly told the protesters to stop the blockade or risk facing legal action.
State Agriculture, Biotechnology and Green Technology Committee chairman, Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi also told NGOs yesterday to not to seek cheap publicity by manipulating the Orang Asli community, especially on logging activities in Gua Musang.
Despite that, the Umno leader known by his moniker Ku Li added that the Orang Asli should not take law into their own hands by placing a blockade in Gua Musang despite being forced to do so.
“I think they have valid reaons for doing that. But of course, that is taking the law into their own hands, so, they should have asked the police to do what they want, done.
“Rather than taking the law into their own hands. So that aspect is wrong. But, we sympatise with the Orang Asli people because its so difficult for them to survive,” Tengku Razaleigh explained.
Tengku Razaleigh said that that the Orang Asli have valid reasons to resort to such a move as their villages and water supply were allegedly being destroyed by loggers.
“The water is dirty and all their plantations have been destroyed by the loggers who been indiscriminately felling of trees and destroying their traditional kampungs you see,” he said, using the Malay word for village.
“And they have got the reasons for raising these grounds.”
It was reported yesterday that total of 47 Orang Asli activists have been remanded as authorities investigate their involvement in a blockade at a Gua Musang forest reserve in Kelantan.
The Orang Asli group, aged between 18 to 40 were arrested after authorities destroyed their blockade at Simpang Petir yesterday that was set up since September 26 by over 200 Orang Asli to prevent timber from being taken out of the Balah Forest Reserve at Gua Musang.