Malaysiakini News

'No merdeka for indigenous community, land rights'

Published:  |  Modified:

Suaram has criticised the federal government for not applying sufficient pressure against the PAS-led Kelantan government and allowing federal agencies to participate in the demolition of a blockade set up by the Orang Asli community in Gua Musang.

"Apart from the abject disregard for human rights and the environment by the Kelantan state government, the federal government have also failed to exert any pressure and to negotiate a resolution of the matter with the state government.

"The assurance and the commitment by the federal government were betrayed by the fact that the police has taken a role in supporting the demolition of the blockade in Gua Musang," Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said in a statement today.

The Temiar community had set up a blockade against a durian plantation company in defence of their native customary land rights, which the Kelantan government has refused to recognise.

This morning, enforcement officers, including the police, oversaw the removal of the blockade which a durian company claimed was obstructing access to its plantation.

"The PAS-led government in Kelantan must take cognisant of Malaysia’s obligations to international human rights especially those relating to customary land rights of the indigenous peoples.

"The Kelantan state government is also obliged to take into account the environmental impact resulting from the rampant deforestation taking place in Kelantan which has contributed to flooding and water pollution within the state," the human rights group said.

Forced eviction at ranch in Klang

Sevan also criticised the Selangor government for the forced eviction and demolition of a 16-year-old ranch in Bukit Tinggi, Klang.

"Suaram reiterates our condemnation for the continued violation of human rights against these individuals and communities and call for both the Kelantan and Selangor state government to cease with their unconscionable actions and have a dialogue with the communities to achieve a fair resolution for those affected.

Five people, including two PSM activists, were arrested following a scuffle during the demolition of the ranch.

Sevan, in his statement, also called for their immediate release and urged the federal government to ensure that no federal agencies or enforcement agencies would be utilised by state governments to “do its dirty work of violating human rights via forcibly evicting occupants and demolishing community blockades".

He added that while the country will be celebrating its national day on Friday, it seems there would be no "Merdeka" for the Orang Asli community or for land rights.

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