KOTA BHARU – About 80 orang asli from four villages in Lojing, Gua Musang have handed over a memorandum to the Kelantan menteri besar to object to the encroachment of customary land in the area.
The memorandum was handed over to the menteri besar’s senior private secretary, Aad Syazwan Mohamad at the Kota Darul Naim Complex here today.
The orang asli represented about 4,000 residents of Kampung Sendrod, Kampung Sigar, Kampung Kuala Tahu and Kampung Kelaik who claimed that the land encroachment which began in 2000, had caused various problems.
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM) representative Bah Muya Bah Said, 29, claimed that hundreds of hectares of customary land in Lojing had been encroached by some companies to clear the land for agriculture, mining and tourism activities.
“They (companies) took our customary land without discussing it first with the residents. The encroachment is damaging our water catchment area. If it’s flooded, we will die,” he told reporters after the handing over of the memorandum.
The memorandum, among others, urged that any land approved as orang asli land be issued under communal grants and not private grants.
“In addition, the Lojing Orang Asli Bureau and JKOASM should set up an audit board comprising representatives from JKOASM and the state government to monitor projects in the area.
“We also want new deforestation activities in Lojing to be stopped until the communal land issue is completed,” said Bah Muya.
A Kampung Kelaik villager, Gibon Alam, 29, claimed that in 2014, a man from his village died after he was swept away by strong currents while bathing in Sungai Kelaik.
“The incident occurred when a mining company suddenly released water from a mine located in the upstream area of Sungai Kelaik without informing the villagers residing downstream,” he said. – BERNAMA