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An Orang Asli community set up a blockade at Kampung Cawas, in bid to protest against the logging activity. Pix courtesy of Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia Kelantan.

KOTA BARU: An Orang Asli community set up three blockades at the Gunung Stong Selatan forest reserve, Gua Musang yesterday, to protest against a logging activity and a 'Musang King' durian plantation project at the area.

More than 800 people took part in the demonstration, the first of such protest held this year.

Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia Kelantan chairman Mustapa Along said the three blockades were held in Cawas, Gua Cha and Pos Gob.

"The blockade in Cawas is a permanent fixture while the other two are temporary. We have yet to identify the suitable locations to make the two blockades permanent.

"We decided to do this because there's been a lot of permits being issued by the state government, especially in the Cawas area.

"To us, there is nothing wrong with the state government issuing the permits but they must also take note of the impact such activities will have on the livelihood of the Orang Asli in the surrounding areas," he said when contacted today.

Mustapa said apart from the usual logging activity, the community was also concerned about the impact of a 'Musang King' durian plantation project will have on the eco-system around the area.

"We want the state government as well as the relevant authorities to stop overly exploiting the forest." he said.

Meanwhile, Kelantan Forestry Department director Datuk Zahari Ibrahim said the department was aware of the new blockades set up by the Orang Asli community in Gua Musang.

"Our officers are monitoring the situation in Gua Musang and will take the necessary action," he said, without elaborating.

The Orang Asli community has been holding demonstrations against the state government since 2015 to show their unhappiness over logging activities that were carried out at their settlements.

In 2016, they had set up numerous blockades to prevent loggers from entering their land in Gua Musang.

The blockade issues lasted for almost a year, with some of them being arrested.

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