Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he is not feeling pressured by the Orang Asli community’s demand for the state government to approve 12,456 hectares of customary land.
He said the customary land covered the Air Chepam Forest Reserve in Hulu Perak, Piah Forest Reserve (Kuala Kangsar) and Government Land in Mukim Kenering, Hulu Perak District.
He said although the state government had been very lenient when it came to taking action against a handful of Orang Asli villagers who had occupied the land illegally, it must be firm in enforcing the law.
"This is not a cowboy country, we have laws. So if there are people freely encroaching on government land without regard to lawful provisions, we need to take appropriate action.
"The government must be fair to everyone. Regardless who they are, we have to take action (against those illegally encroaching on the land) but we will not demolish the Orang Asli houses immediately.
“Instead we will find ways to overcome this problem,” he told reporters after officiating a Wesak Day celebration organised by Temoh Buddhist Association today.
He was commenting on a news portal report alleging that the state government was willing to consider the demands by the Orang Asli community to approve 12,400 hectares of customary forest reserve land in Hulu Perak, Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Siput.
Recently, an Orang Asli representative, Apam Yik, urged the government to recognise the community’s rights over 12,000 hectares of customary land.
Elaborating, Ahmad Faizal said the customary land which the community had claimed was indeed the property of their ancestors and a large area was required for the Orang Asli people to carry out their farming and hunting activities. - Bernama