GUA MUSANG – Soil erosion in hilly areas in the Lojing Highlands here is becoming more critical and endangering the lives of hundreds of Orange Asli residents who live here.
According to them, several rivers in the area, especially Sungai Belatop, had become more polluted and filled with mud due to the erosion.
Chairman of the Orang Asli Village Committee on Development and Security (JKKKOA), Kamal Rami said the local residents had faced the situation for several years.
He added that heavy rains last year had worsened the situation and caused more erosion, especially from uncontrolled logging activities.
“The heavy floods in Gua Musang (in December last year) could have resulted from deforestation in Hulu Kelantan and the hills not being able to absorb the rain water.
He said applications to convert new areas into agriculture land should no longer be approved as they affected the surrounding areas and polluted Sungai Belatop.
“The Orang Asli can no longer use the river to get their daily needs as it is not only muddy but also subject to pesticides from vegetable farming,” he said.
A resident, Udang Bujang, 60, said each time it rains, the Orang Asli people who live along the hill slopes and river banks would be worried.
“During the recent floods, we were all ready to move, but luckily our homes were not affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gua Musang assemblyman Ab Aziz Yusof said although the occurrence was serious, the federal government could not stop agriculture activities as it was not under its jurisdiction. – BERNAMA