GUA MUSANG: Thirty Orang Asli from three settlements here lodged police reports claiming that land encroachment activities had been rampant near their settlements over the past three months.
They represent about 1,000 Orang Asli of the Temiar tribe from Pos Ber and Pos Brooke, who live in Kampung Cedal, Kampung Ber, Kampung Kerbok, Kampung Mendrod and Kampung Haed.
Kelantan Orang Asli Villages Network (JKOAK) deputy chairman Nasir Dollah, 36, said the reports were related to the issues of logging and farming, expected to begin soon, as informed recently by representatives of a company developing the land.
“Initially, we met the company’s representatives and urged them not to proceed with their plan. We were told that the project covers an area of over 800ha and this will affect the Orang Asli customary land and cause us to lose our rights over the land there.
“This will also involve the settlers’ farms. Being close to the settlement areas, the project will affect the settlers’ activities and their way of life,” he said when met by reporters in Bandar Baru here today.
Meanwhile, Kampung Mendrod representative Legek Alang, 69, said the durian planting project started in his village last July and this has caused the settlers’ water supply to be polluted.
As such, he hoped the authorities would do something to control the activities.
“They started working on the farm on July 25 and the trees have now reached a height of about three feet (a metre).
“We have 500 settlers and we are very disappointed because the soil from the farming project has caused the river water to become cloudy, affecting our water source,” said Legek, who was one of those who lodged the police report.
A Kampung Haed settler, Ramli Ajom, 34, hoped the state government, the Orang Asli development department (Jakoa), the Gua Musang district land office and the environment department will monitor the situation as this involved their catchment water quality.
A Pos Ber settler, Uda Jenang, 59, hoped the government would pay more attention to the illegal land encroachment which he claimed was becoming more rampant near their settlement areas.
“We urge that the project be carried out elsewhere instead of encroaching on Orang Asli customary land in the interior. We appeal to the government to understand our plight and help resolve the issue.”
Meanwhile, Gua Musang police chief Sik Choon Foo confirmed receiving the reports from the Orang Asli group.
“Three reports were lodged by 30 Orang Asli representatives from Tanah Tinggi Lojing,” he said.