The Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) has not washed its hands off issues involving the welfare of the Orang Asli community in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
Its director-general Mohd Jamalludin Kasbi said the department always held talks with the Kelantan Forestry Department (JPNK) and the Gua Musang district police chief on ways to resolve those issues.
“Jakoa plays a role in looking after the welfare of the Orang Asli and we should be informed so that we can help... but we are not involved in the issue in Kelantan... sometimes they (the Orang Asli community) act on their own.
“The approach we use is to submit applications through the (proper) channels, according to the rules.
“As the department which has been empowered, we have rules and we also observe the rules of other departments and those of the state government. We cannot do things any way we want,” he told reporters in Kuala Pilah today.
Mohd Jamalludin was commenting on a crisis in Gua Musang involving the Orang Asli who claimed they were being increasingly threatened by logging activities and had since September last year, built illegal barricades at routes into the Balah permanent forest reserve to prevent timber from being taken out.
He said the department had always cooperated with state governments to ensure the welfare of the Orang Asli was well taken care of.
“So far, we have very good cooperation and we hope this will be improved in the future. Thanks to all state governments which take the welfare of the Orang Asli seriously, much land has been gazetted, to date.
“In the case of land which has not been gazetted, at least give the Orang Asli the permission to continue living there,” he urged.
Earlier, Mohd Jamalludin attended a programme to combat corruption, organised by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in Kampung Tering, Johol in Kuala Pilah.
The programme was attended by about 1,400 Orang Asli community leaders in Negri Sembilan and Malacca.