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Orang Asli Matter More To Kelantan Government

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KOTA BARU – The PAS-led Kelantan government is not concerned with losses from the stop-work order on two logging companies in Gua Musang’s Balah forest reserve to ease the tension between the orang asli and loggers.

Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah said he was willing to meet the orang asli groups to discuss the problem and find an amicable solution to the stand-off.

“The orang asli groups met the Kelantan government together with lawyer Siti Kasim and they asked us to allocate at least 22ha of virgin forest for every two orang asli families in the Balah forest reserve.

“The government is studying the proposal, along with other proposals to gazette the forest for the orang asli,” he told reporters after officiating the state-level Higher Learning Convention here yesterday.

Mohd Amar was commenting on the stand-off between some 200 orang asli of the Temiar tribe and loggers between Pos Gob and Pos Temiar since Monday.

The state government has ordered a stop-work order on two companies logging in two areas of virgin forests of 239ha and 404ha, until further notice.

Mohd Amar said a misunderstanding between the orang asli and the loggers led to the confrontation.

“There is a solution to this dispute but the orang asli groups should not ask for the sun and the moon as settlement.

“I am willing to meet them as long as they are sincere in ending the blockade and not use the government as a tool by accusing it of being cruel,” he said.

Although the government and the logging companies would incur losses, he said the lives and welfare of the orang asli were more important to the government. – The Star Online

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