Orang Asli in Perak apprehensive
Tuesday, 24 February 2009 08:52
By Zedeck Siew (The Nut Graph)
BIDOR, 24 Feb 2009: Orang Asli community leaders in Perak are worried that the state's recent political developments will signal a return to a disregard of their rights.
"We feel concern and sadness at what happened. Where are we in all this? Will Orang Asli issues, that were hot in the last 10 months, once again be sidelined?" said Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Perak (JKOAP) secretary Tijah Yok Chopil.
Tijah, a Semai, revealed that in the days following the swearing in of the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as menteri besar on 6 Feb, several trees in the forest near Kampung Chang, in the outskirts of Bidor, had been marked with red paint for logging purposes.
"There are helicopters flying around, surveying the land," she said when met here on 14 Feb.
Other Orang Asli leaders in the state who spoke to The Nut Graph said logging activities in Sungai Siput, which were halted and had their permits revoked by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government, have also been renewed.
A sand mining operation upriver from Kampung Pos Bersih, which was stopped only a week before, was restarted on 12 Feb, they added.
On 14 Feb, Tijah chaired a meeting of Semai leaders from 10 separate Orang Asli villages between Tanjung Malim and Ipoh in Kampung Chang, Sungai Gepai, where her village is.
The meeting discussed the fall of the PR state government and the BN takeover of Perak, and its effects on Orang Asli issues.
"For 51 years we have not been treated as citizens, but squatters. In our lands, no one lives there, according to the government," said Yok Pis Chenadang, a representative from Kampung Pos Bersih.
Read more at: http://www.thenutgraph.com/orang-asli-in-perak-apprehensive