KUALA LUMPUR: The lawsuit filed by the Attorney-General’s office yesterday against the Kelantan state government was prompted by deep concerns that the Temiar Orang Asli’s land rights have been violated by the Kelantan state administration.
“The Orang Temiar community in Gua Musang, as the first people of the country, deserves all the protection that they can get from the federal government.
“Although there are numerous laws at the federal and state levels; and the 1961 Statement of Policy Regarding the Administration of the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia; coupled with obligations towards them in international treaties, the principle of self-determination which the Orang Asli aspire to has been neglected (by the Kelantan state government),” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy said in a statement yesterday.
He said that there have been too many incidents of the indigenous peoples’ lands being encroached upon without their prior consent, which infringed upon their way of life and deprived them of having their own sense of identity and dignity as a people.
Yesterday, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) filed a civil suit at the High Court of Malaya in Kota Baru on behalf of the federal government to seek recognition of the Orang Asli’s land rights in Pos Simpor near Gua Musang.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas was quoted as saying that the AGC also filed an injunction to prevent intrusion and destruction of native land for commercial gain by the private sector.
Thomas said the Kelantan government and its agencies recently issued logging licences to private companies, which then used heavy machinery to fell trees and remove logs out of a vast area of the forest cleared for the planting of durian and rubber trees.
He said the Temiar Orang Asli were not consulted before the companies’ licences were approved, nor were they offered any compensation for the resulting erosion, pollution and destruction to the Pos Simpor ecological system and landscape.