600 Orang Asli erect more logging blockades in Kelantan


Modified 29 Oct 2016, 4:36 pm

As a result of restrictions imposed on lorries transporting logs out from the Balah Permanent Forest Reserve (HSK) at Kampung Petei, Pos Bering since Sept 26, more than 600 Orang Asli from six villages at Pos Bihai have also put up blockades in protest against logging activities.

The Orang Asli community's protest came after claiming that the Kelantan government allowed logging activities to be carried out on 150 hectares of the land since several weeks ago.

Kelantan Orang Asli Village Network secretary Mustafa Along said they gave the state a grace period of one week to hold negotiations with their community or face the consequence of blockades being set up as was done in Kampung Petei.

"We are not against logging but the government must ensure that it is done in a sustainable manner," he told reporters at the barricade at Kampung Sungai Peralong, Gua Musang.

Also present was Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka) president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil.

Commenting further, Mustafa said today marked the sixth day of the barrier set up by the Orang Asli community whose lives had been affected by the logging activities within the district.

"Previously we had put barricades at Pos Parik, Pos Belau and Pos Gob as well as Kampung Petei.

"However, four of our blockades had failed, but the one in Kampung Petei had successfully stopped the logging activities of two companies in the area," Mustafa said.

On Oct 3, the state government issued a directive to suspend logging at the HSK Balah after more than 200 Orang Asli obstructed the logging track at Kampung Petei since Sept 26.

The group called for all logging activities there to cease as they claimed that it had caused damage to the environment which resulted in forest extinction to the extent of affecting their livelihood.

Shariffa Sabrina said the Orang Asli were now more educated and knew their rights, and urged for the issues brought up to be discussed.

- Bernama