The Kelantan state government today said instigation by the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Village Network (JKOASM) has made it difficult to resolve issues with the community.
Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said although JKOASM claimed they represented the Orang Asli community over the issues, it was, however, an unregistered organisation and its views could not be taken into account.
"Because of this, it is rather difficult for the state government to deal with JKOASM despite its claim of representing the Orang Asli.
"From the information we have, JKOASM was behind the Orang Asli blockade. They also instigated the Orang Asli over the customary land issue while customary rights land is only in Sabah and Sarawak," he told the state assembly in Kota Baru today.
He was replying to a question from Ab Aziz Yusoff (BN-Galas) who wanted to know the initiatives undertaken by the state government to provide land for the Orang Asli as their settlement reserves.
Mohd Amar said the state government had approved and gazetted 11,587.433 hectares of land in seven areas in Gua Musang, at the suggestion of the Department of Orang Asli Development.
Prior to this, he said, the Orang Asli had submitted a preposterous demand of 20 hectares for each member of an Orang Asli family.
"There are 8,000 Orang Asli in Kelantan. If each of them is given 20 hectares, the state government will have to set aside over 80,000 hectares for them. If this happens, how are we to implement development and harvest jungle produce?" he said.
Touching on the Orang Asli graves which were disturbed by loggers, he said the community did not have specific cemeteries and some hung their dead from trees.
Meanwhile, Ab Aziz, when met outside the state assembly hall, said 7,000 Orang Asli had embraced Islam and had their own cemeteries.
He said definitely there were places where the Orang Asli hung their dead but loggers did not take this into account.