Malaysia: Cultural village scrapped after villagers petitioned against it

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    THE Pos Raya Orang Asli Cultural Village project near Simpang Pulai has been called off. The decision came about following a meeting between the Yayasan Orang Asli Perak (YOAP) and Kampung Pos Raya villagers, who had objected to the project and signed a petition for it to be scrapped.

    Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, who attended the meeting last Friday, said there had been attempts to convince the villagers to agree to the project but they were adamant that the project should not go on. It was reported on March 3 that over 150 villagers had signed a petition against the project as they were upset at the village tok batin for failing to get their consent before giving his approval.

    They also said the proposed project site was their ancestral land, on which they had planted cash crops and fruit trees. YOAP director Datuk Suki Mee had clarified earlier that the 1.4ha land belonged to an individual, and not to all the villagers. He added that the land was given to the foundation specifically for the project after obtaining consent from its owner.

    Suki Mee, an orang asli himself, said the misunderstanding arose because the villagers assumed the land was on ancestral grounds belonging to the community. The RM1mil project, which had its ground-breaking ceremony performed by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok earlier in January, was to have a restaurant by the river, workshops and a stage for dance performances. On Tuesday, Suki Mee declined to comment on the matter.

    “Just let the matter rest. I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” he said.

    Source: The Star Online