Malaysiakini News

Company in tussle with Orang Asli claims it's the victim, appeals to Dr M

Published:  |  Modified:

The company which is in a tussle with the Kelantan Orang Asli community claimed that it is the victim of an "illegal blockade".

"M7 Plantation Bhd and our staff are the victims - and not the cause - of an illegal blockade mounted by people claiming to represent Orang Asli in Gua Musang, Kelantan for the past six months," the company's board of directors said in a statement today.

The Temiar community had accused the plantation company of using force to dismantle the blockade they had set up on grounds of deterring trespassers on their land.

The Kelantan government does not recognise the native customary land rights of the Orang Asli community in the state.

The company denied using force to demolish the blockade, calling it a "highly defamatory" allegation.

It said its managers and workers had used alternative routes to access its plantations.

"We even had to resort to sending supplies by boat and exposing our staff to higher risks on the river.

"This was done as we have a policy of avoiding confrontation or escalating any conflict with any party," it said.

The company added that a manager had on July 30 also lodged a police report over an "illegal blockade on a public road" preventing him from entering his worksite.

The Temiar community had on Friday met with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, appealing for his intervention in the tussle.

However, M7 Plantation Bhd today also appealed to Mahathir to "uphold the rule of law".

"We appeal to Mahathir to uphold the 'rule of law' which he repeatedly promised after taking office in May this year.

"We urge all sections of government to abide by this promise.

"Our cordial and non-confrontational policy will remain but the company shall henceforth do all we can to 'reserve our rights and protect our interests'.

The company also urged the media to "refrain from any possibility of slanderous or libellous statements".

"Please stop casting aspersions on the company or company officials. We may be forced to take legal action to protect our company's image and reputation," it said.

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