PH Government is committed to protect Orang Asli rights — P Waytha Moorty

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18): The lawsuit filed by the Attorney-General's office on behalf of the Orang Temiar community against the Kelantan State government today shows that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is committed to protect the legal rights of the Orang Asli community in this country.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator P Waytha Moorthy said the Federal Government was very concerned by the state of deprivation of the Orang Asli's right for their self-determination with a free, prior and informed concern as they were provided with Federal and State-level laws that protected their rights but had been infringed by the Kelantan State government.

"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,” he said in a statement issued here today.

"Although there are numerous laws in the Federal, State levels, 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 in which the Orang Asal aspire to be has been neglected in perpetual (by the Kelantan State government)," said Waytha Moorthy.

He also said that there had been too many invasions on the land of indigenous peoples without their prior consent which infringed their way of life and deprived them of having their own sense of identity and dignity as a people.

Earlier today, The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had filed a civil suit at the High Court of Malaya in Kota Bharu on behalf of the Federal Government to seek recognition of the Orang Asli’s land rights in Pos Simpor near Gua Musang.

The statement quoting Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said that the AGC also filed an injunction to prevent intrusion and destruction of their 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 take the logs out of a vast area of the forest cleared for planting of durian and rubber trees without consulting the Temiar Orang Asli before approving the licences or offer any compensation to them resulting in erosion, pollution and destruction to the Pos Simpor ecological system and landscape.