On October 03, the Kelantan government ordered logging activities in Balah permanent forest reserve in Gua Musang to be temporarily stopped, following protests from the Orang Asli in the area. [For background info, please refer to my blog post "The Temiars Defend Their Land" dated October 03, 2016].
Kelantan Forestry Department director Zahari Ibrahim reiterated that all logging-related operations were postponed until all issues were resolved.
Zahari said, at present, there were only two licensed logging companies still operating, involving 30 to 40 workers.
The Orang Asli had claimed the area between Post Tohoi and Pos Simpor in Gua Musang was their customary land and that the loggers were trespassing, while the loggers claimed they had valid licences to fell trees in the area.
However, Zahari said there was no issue of customary land as the land was never gazetted as one.
The Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) should've played its role in this issue because the process to obtain customary land title must be made by Jakoa. A government department that is clearly not doing its job!
According to Siti Kasim (right), the lawyer acting on behalf of the Orang Asli, the latter have mapped the area they wish to claim and prepared evidence of their historical ancestry in the land for a civil suit against the state as well as the loggers.
And The Star reported on Saturday that the Federal Government have claimed they are powerless to compel Kelantan to respect the land rights of the Orang Asli, despite pushing for areas in the state to be gazetted as indigenous reserve land (p 4).
Already the national daily had quoted Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Abdullah as saying that logging activities may be causing environmental degradation, especially contaminating the rivers (October 08, 2016, p4).
On Saturday afternoon, Liquid Gold members and guests went to Bangsar in KL to have lunch and at the same time, have their Toastmasters meeting. The venue selected was Southern Rock Seafood in Jalan Kemuja.