600 Orang Asli set up anti-logging barricade


GUA MUSANG: More than 600 Orang Asli from six villages at Pos Bihai have put up anti-logging barricades after the state government announced restrictions on lorries transporting logs from the Balah Permanent Forest Reserve at Kampung Petei, Pos Bering.

The state government restruction was announced on Oct 3, and came after barricades were set up by Orang Asli on Sept 26.

However, the Orang Asli community said that the Kelantan government had allowed logging to be carried out on 150 hectares of the land several weeks ago.

Kelantan Orang Asli Village Network secretary Mustafa Along said the community had given the state a grace period of one week to hold negotiations or face the consequence of blockades being set up as was done in Kampung Petei.

“We are not against logging but the government must ensure that it is done in a sustainable manner,” he told reporters at the barricade at Kampung Sungai Peralong, here.

Also present was Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil.

Mustafa said the Orang Asli community here had set up a barricade six days ago.

“Previously we had put barricades at Pos Parik, Pos Belau and Pos Gob as well as Kampung Petei.

“However, four of our blockades had failed, but the one in Kampung Petei had successfully stopped the logging activities of two companies in the area,” Mustafa said.

On Oct 3, the state government issued a directive to suspend logging at the Balah forest reserve after more than 200 Orang Asli obstructed the logging track at Kampung Petei from Sept 26.

The group called for all logging activities there to cease. They said the logging had caused damage to the environment and damage to the forest, affecting their livelihood.

Shariffa Sabrina said the Orang Asli were now more educated and knew their rights, and called for discussion of the issues brought up.