ROMPIN: Gazetting the Orang Asli settlement at Kampung Bukit Biru near Muadzam Shah here will be given top priority to help safeguard the interests of the community in the future.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy said the Jakun tribe here had stressed on the need to gazette the village as an Orang Asli native village so they can enjoy basic amenities like paved roads, clean water and electricity.
He said the Rompin district office will check on the land ownership and if there is no dispute, the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) can make an application to the state government to gazette the land.
"I have spoken to the Rompin district officer to check on the land status. If there is no problem, then technical works including measuring the land will begin. However, it might require some time as it requires documentation and measuring works.
"To ensure clean water supply, Jakoa will arrange for water tankers to provide water every week until a permanent piping project is built in the village. Arrangements will be made to set up a solar energy system for the villagers here until electricity is provided," he told reporters after a dialogue session with the villagers at Kampung Bukit Biru here today.
Kampung Bukit Biru made headlines recently when reports emerged over the deplorable living conditions of its Orang Asli, including children playing at a near landfill and villagers not having water and electricity supply.
Some of villagers had been also scavenging a landfill in Jalan Bukit Ibam located some 500 metres from their village to search for recyclable items to make a living.
Waytha Moorthy said Kampung Bukit Biru is categorised as a “splinter village” as it consists of villagers from six settlements, namely Kampung Langkap Luar, Runchang, Segamat Kecil, Simpai, Tanah Runtuh and Sawah Batu.
“The 82 people from 22 families who live here are from six settlements who relocated to Kampung Bukit Biru between 10 and 15 years ago to earn a living. Since the land has not been gazetted, they are not entitled to receive proper assistance," he said.
Meanwhile Waytha Moorthy said the government is prepared to help the villagers look for other sources of income including working on fertigation projects, freshwater fish ponds and "madu kelulut".
"We have some proposals and the Orang Asli have agreed with our suggestions so we will discuss with the agriculture and fisheries departments and Jakoa to ensure the plans become reality. The government will set aside the funds to assist the 22 families here to improve their livelihood.
“Maybe SWCorp (Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation) can speak to the landfill operator to help employ the Orang Asli to work at the dumpsite. However, this will be decided by the operator," he said.
Waytha Moorthy, who earlier visited the dumpsite, said scavenging at the landfill could pose a threat to the Orang Asli's health and the government is committed to find a long-term solution for them.
“It is not suitable for them to work at the landfill which has chemical and toxic materials, worse still when some of them began building huts in the landfill area... no one is allowed to enter the landfill site without permission," he said.