GUA MUSANG – The Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) is expected to complete surveying by September the Orang Asli reserve land in the country, estimated at 132,000 hectares, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Jakoa had completed surveying 105,000 hectares and was working on the remaining 27,000 hectares, he said to reporters after meeting the Orang Asli of Pos Brooke, about 100km here, today. At the event, he also launched the national-level Orang Asli village cleanliness campaign.
Ismail Sabri said information on the land surveyed so far would be handed over to the state governments for approval and gazetting. So far, 32,700 hectares had been gazetted by state governments, he added.
“The jurisdiction to approve and gazette Orang Asli reserve land lays with the state governments and it is hoped that the state governments would gazette the land already surveyed,” he said.
The minister said it was important to have the Orang Asli land gazetted to prevent disputes with the state governments when there was logging, farming and mining close to these areas as well as to address encroachment of forest reserves.
Ismail Sabri said state governments should consult Jakoa before approving projects in the interior areas for fear that these would encroach onto Orang Asli settlements.
On the cleanliness campaign, he said 853 Orang Asli villages would be involved in the campaign.
He said the ministry would cooperate with various quarters, including the Health Ministry and local authorities, to implement the cleanliness campaign.
The campaign was aimed at preventing epidemics of diseases among the Orang Asli, such as malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, dengue and leptospirosis, he said, adding that the campaign would include clean-up, health exhibitions and medical checks. – BERNAMA