PETALING JAYA: An interest group representing over 13,000 people from the Orang Asli community in Kelantan has rubbished any suggestion that Putrajaya’s legal suit on their behalf could be politically motivated.
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan (JKOAK) chairman Mustafa Along said he did not see a link between the lawsuit and the Jan 26 by-election in Cameron Highlands, where the Orang Asli community makes up a huge chunk of voters.
Mustafa said JKOAK had met with the Bar Council and the Attorney-General’s Chambers last year to discuss the problems of the Orang Asli in Kelantan.
“Therefore, claims that this issue was intentionally brought up due to the Cameron Highlands by-election are unfounded and irresponsible because this was being planned since before the election.”
Mustafa also said a blockage erected by the Orang Asli to stop encroachments into their native lands in Gua Musang will continue.
Putrajaya yesterday said it had filed a suit against the PAS-ruled Kelantan government, and is seeking an injunction to stop private companies from carrying out commercial activities there.
The suit is the first time since independence that the federal government was instituting legal proceedings on behalf of the Orang Asli.
The Kelantan government has maintained that the lands being claimed by the Orang Asli belongs to the state government.
State agencies have in recent years granted logging licenses to private companies to enter the native lands of the Temiar Orang Asli in Pos Simpor near the infamous Gua Musang.
Earlier today, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang questioned the timing of the suit.
The suit filed in the Kota Bharu High Court last week named the state government, state director of Lands and Mines, state director of Forestry Department, and five private entities as defendants.