LETTER | We, the undersigned civil society organisations, condemn the Perak Government for taking down the anti-logging blockade set up by the Orang Asli of Kampung Cunex, Gerik, Perak and encroaching into their native customary lands.
On May 13, the Perak state government gave a statement that they are facing obstacles from NGOs with regards to state development which requires logging to channel income for the state.
This brushed over the fact that many of these logging and development activities were decided without the participation of the communities that were affected, in this case, the Orang Asli of Kampung Cunex, Gerik, Perak.
Many developments in the ancestral territories of the Orang Asli in Perak (and also other states across Peninsular) were carried out without the free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) of the communities and often, they were not compensated fairly.
This is an indicator that the state government was not recognising the human rights of the Orang Asli.
These principles are enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which Malaysia has agreed to at the UN General Assembly in 2007, expressing her commitment to protect and respect the rights of the indigenous peoples at the international level.
The Pakatan Harapan government has reaffirmed its commitment on the protection of the rights of the Orang Asli in the GE14 Manifesto and an overarching framework for the 136 resolutions that were listed during the Orang Asli Convention in Putrajaya on April 22, 2019.
In January 2019, the Attorney General Tommy Thomas also took the unprecedented move of suing the Kelantan government to restrain the PAS-led state administration from destroying indigenous people’s lands for commercial profits.
He emphasised that the cabinet was resolved to protect the indigenous people’s land rights and their welfare.
Hence, we urge the federal government to be consistent in policy decision and should not practice double standards in the encroachment of indigenous people’s native lands in Kelantan and Perak.
The AG must sue the Perak state government immediately, putting the human rights of people over profits.
We also demand all state governments to freeze current logging licenses and conduct FPIC assessment with the indigenous peoples prior to any activities and actions that will affect their rights to their native customary lands.
Ultimately, we seek the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the government to fulfil their fiduciary duty of respecting and protecting the rights of the Orang Asli in tandem with protecting and preserving the rich biodiversity inhabiting in these natural environments which many of the Orang Asli call home.
Initiated by Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.