THE Orang Asli community should not open new villages so that the government can develop infrastructure in their existing settlements.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government was focused on providing complete infrastructure to 853 Orang Asli villages and more than 80% had electricity, water and roads.
“But we still find more than 100 new splinter villages had been created.
“If they (Orang Asli) continue opening new villages, the problem of developing these villages will never end. Sometimes they open new villages in areas which are further away, on private land, and this slows down the development in the original villages,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after officiating a thanksgiving ceremony for Rural Electricity Supply Project at the Hulu Kemensah Orang Asli settlement in Hulu Klang near Kuala Lumpur today.
Also present were director-general of Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) Mohd Jamalludin Kasbi and senior general manager (corporate affairs) of Tenaga Nasional Bhd Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Amin.
In a separate development, Ismail said only 31,000 of the 136,000 hectares of land belonging to the Orang Asli had been gazetted so far due to the lack of cooperation from the community.
“By right, surveying wors of the area by Jakoa should have been completed. But we are hampered because there are some Orang Asli who have been taken in by the lies of the opposition and have refused to let their lands be surveyed and demanded that the land to be gazetted be expanded, we are facing resistance from six Orang Asli villages.
He added that work to gazette the land in six villages would be postponed while that of the other villages will go ahead.
Village head Ebak Pulasan, 75, said the Temuan villagers of his settlement would no longer have to live in darkness which they endured for 15 years as they received electricity supply since early last year.
“I am very happy…we used to depend on candles and lamps at night. Now, the nights are bright and we are no longer in darkness,” he added. – Bernama, October 9, 2017.