Malaysiakini News

Forestry Dept warns of action against Orang Asli blockaders

Published:  |  Modified:

The Kelantan Forestry Department said it will not hesitate to take action against the group of Orang Asli who have rebuilt their anti-logging blockade in the interiors of Gua Musang.

Activists from the Temiar community have rebuilt their blockades to stop logging at the Balah and Gunung Stong forest reserves, following crackdowns and arrests last month, arguing that logging destroys their water source.

"The state government has already resolved the issue through several resolutions, including to expedite the process of gazetting the Pos Gob area under Section 62 of the National Land Code 1965.

"Besides that, 15,000 hectares of Kelantan Forest Reserve will be demarcated as Orang Asli foraging area," Bernama reported department director Zahari Ibrahim as saying in a statement.

Zahari also urged the state-owned Kumpulan Perkayuan Kelantan (KPK) to ensure the supply of clean water to the Orang Asli community during the logging periods.

He said logging through reforestation practices would continue and existing regulations would be strengthened to ensure more environmental practices.

As such, Zahari urged all not to breach the law in forest reserve areas, Bernama reported.

A total 47 of Orang Asli activists were arrested and remanded overnight last month when the Forestry Department dismantled their blockades.

They have since rebuilt the blockades and have vowed to build more to stop the state-sanctioned logging.

However, some members of the local Orang Asli community shun the blockades as being too antagonistic and incompatible with Orang Asli ways.

An Orang Asi village chief and PAS Youth have also lodged police reports against lawyer Siti Kasim, who has assisted the blockaders, for allegedly causing community disharmony.

Read also: Kiniguide to the Orang Asli blockades

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