Kelantan police will take stern action against those who exploited the issue of the arrest of Orang Asli at the Balah Permanent Forest Reserve (HSK), Gua Musang.
State police chief Ab Rahman Ismail said they were monitoring several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) believed to be masterminds in exploiting the Orang Asli community to erect barriers at the logging track in the forest.
“We are aware that there are people who have made viral on social media, the arrest of the Orang Asli in the operation, giving a negative impression that police had conspired with the state Forestry Department when we were only assisting the department,” he told reporters at his office in the state police headquarters in Kota Baru yesterday.
On Tuesday, 47 Orang Asli who put up blockades at Simpang Petei and the entry route to Pos Bihai were detained by police after refusing to move from the barricaded area during the operation conducted by the state Forestry Department.
The operation to dismantle the logging barriers was conducted following a deadlock in negotiations between the state government and the Orang Asli, believed to be due to interference from outsiders.
Rahman said legal action would be taken against individuals who tried to tarnish the image of the police, while the Orang Asli arrested yesterday were being remanded for two to three days to assist in the investigation.
He said police also received nine reports on the issue from police personnel, state Forestry Department and the NGOs.
Rahman said police did not dismiss the possibility of taking action against the 70 demonstrators who held an illegal gathering at the Gua Musang district police headquarters for five hours from 10pm on Tuesday.