PETALING JAYA: Don’t point fingers at others over the logging problems affecting the Orang Asli settlements in Gua Musang, Siti Kasim told the Kelantan government.
The lawyer cum activist was responding to Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, who yesterday blamed the problem on ‘masterminds’ instigating the Temiar Orang Asli community.
“Is it wrong if the masterminds advised the Orang Asli of their rights? By right, no one should have to inform them of that,” she told FMT.
“The state government is supposed to take care of its people. Why must others be placed in a position where they have to advise the Orang Asli on what needs to be done if their rights and lives are oppressed?”
Mohd Amar was also reported to have said that the state government was looking into several reports related to the logging issue after discussions with several agencies, including the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa).
He said based on their findings, there was some confusion in the initial reports which included some parties laying the blame on the state government.
Siti said: “The Orang Asli have requested to meet with them (the state government) for years.
“Did they only realise the gravity of the situation when it turned into a big issue and when they came under tremendous pressure from the people?”
She reiterated that the welfare of Kelantanese should be cared for by the state government, and that the people would not have complained if they had been provided with a good quality of life.
Recently, over 200 Temiar Orang Asli staged a blockade to protest against logging activities carried out within the Balah forest reserve.
They claimed the logging activities encroached upon lands claimed by the local Temiar community as their customary lands.