Orang Asli group points out that other states get by without having to destroy the forest and environment.
PETALING JAYA: An Orang Asli NGO has hit out at the Kelantan state government over its logging policies, saying its claim the activity was the state’s main source of revenue is a joke.
“There is no reason for any state to only have one source of income as other states are able to earn revenue without having to destroy the forest and environment as well as oppress the Orang Asli,” Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) said in a statement today.
JOAS’ criticisms come on the heels of reports that over 600 Orang Asli from six villages at Pos Bihai, Kelantan have erected blockades to protest against logging activities.
The community there said the Kelantan government allowed logging activities to be carried out on 150 hectares of the land since several weeks ago.
JOAS also said it was disappointed with the PAS-led administration for failing to resolve the long-running logging issue, adding that no one from the state government had gone to the ground to view the problems themselves or paid attention to the people’s welfare.
The problem, the NGO said, was compounded by Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah who last month said the Orang Asli had been instigated by outsiders.
“This is a dishonest comment from someone who does not want to take responsibility.”
JOAS urged the state government to discuss the issue with the Orang Asli community instead of dealing only with the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) or the village head.
“Most of these problems arise when the state government makes a decision unilaterally without any discussion with residents.
On Oct 3, the Kelantan state government issued an order to stop logging activities in the Balah Permanent Forest Reserve (HSK), Gua Musang, after more than 200 Orang Asli residents blocked the timber lorry track in Kampung Petei.
The group also called for a stop to all logging in Balah HSK near their living areas after allegations that the activities had damaged the environment and caused a depletion of the forest that affected their livelihood.