Malaysian

Why 41 Orang Asli Were Arrested In Kelantan As They Sang Negaraku Sorrowfully

This past week has proven to be a trial for the Temiars as they faced various challenges from saving their homes.

Siti Kasim, an activist and lawyer for the Temiars, shared a note detailing the confrontation that had transpired between the tribe and the Kelantan authorities in Simpang Petir on November 29.

While she and her team were busy at the Kota Baru High Court for the Pos Balar land rights case, they received a call from the tribe who were manning the blockade at Petei and Pasik that authorities were starting their operation of bringing down 3 blockades that were used to protect their homes away from loggers.

It was said that more than a hundred General Operation Forces personnel (usually involved in riot control procedures) together with police and forestry officials had gathered in Gua Musang town before marching onwards to the Petei bloackade site.

The officials moved into the bloackade area and went on to dismantle about 35 bamboo huts.

Image Credit: Siti Kasim Facebook
Image Credit: Siti Kasim Facebook

Enforcement officers also seized blowpipes and machetes from at least 200 orang asli from the Temiar tribe, who had camped at the three blockades at Simpang Petir, Pos Pasik and Pos Bihai.

The blockades were erected and managed by the orang asli about two months ago to protest logging activities in the Balah forest reserve.

The arrests of the Temiars who were preventing the loggers from removing their logs from the Pos Simpor and Pos Balar traditional territories of the Temiars were made by the GOF personnel surrounding the site like a military operation.

Image Credit: Siti Kasim Facebook
Image Credit: Siti Kasim Facebook

As of now, 41 Temiars have been arrested and brought to the Gua Musang police station. The court has since then decided that all of the ones detained would be given a two-day remand to assist in investigations by the police and state Forestry Department.

It has been reported that earlier, there has been a group of orang asli gathered outside the Gua Musang courthouse to lend support for the people detained.

The video that has since then been uploaded onto Facebook and gathered thousands of views showed around a number of 50 orang asli coming from various states chanting and singing our national anthem in front of the courthouse.

State Forestry Department deputy operations director Mohd Radhie Chu Abdullah said that the group was detained for trespassing at a permanent forest reserve.

The Kelantan government insisted that the orang asli dismantle their blockade or face the consequences, calling these illegal and arguing that the community was hampering development.

However, it has been reported that Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob has said that the government have now decided to step back and allow the confrontation between the orang asli and the forestry department to be just between them.

Image Credit: Siti Kasim Facebook
Image Credit: Siti Kasim Facebook

Earlier in September, more than 200 orang asli built these barricades between Pos Tohoi and Pos Gob to prevent logs from leaving two areas in the Balah permanent forest reserve, covering 239ha and 404ha respectively, that had been approved for logging.

This caused the state Forestry Department to issue a stop-work order in October to reduce tensions between the loggers and orang asli. That gave activists two weeks to take down the blockade before it was extended to today.

The latest update has been that the detained orang asli will be released by today, as Siti Kasim has updated on her profile.

Feature Image Credit: kembara.my

 

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