PETALING JAYA: After protesting against the state government and forestry departments following logging activities in Gua Musang, an Orang Asli NGO has begun criticising its chieftains.
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) secretary Nasir Dollah claimed the Orang Asli chieftains had failed to defend the rights and ancestral lands of the Orang Asli after they defended the state government’s logging activities.
“The chieftains have no right to speak about Orang Asli issues because they have not learned about our rights and the grassroot community’s struggle.
“They also have never come down to see those protesting although the blockade issue received hype from the media.
“I sympathise with the chieftains who have no dignity or pride as Orang Asli.
“To me it’s easy. If they care about Orang Asli rights, then they won’t sit at home and keep silent,” he told FMT.
Nasir was commenting on comments by Hendrop vice-chieftain Bidi Ronggeng who described the Orang Asli group which built the blockades at the Balah forest reserve as having committed an unlawful and undignified act.
Nasir said his NGO was challenging the Orang Asli chieftains to take action against those who set up the blockades if it was indeed against the law.
“I want to stress here that the grassroots are not as stupid as the chieftains and will not suffer silently the way they have all this while.
“Our uprising is what the Orang Asli need and not for our own selfish interests.
“Only with recognition from the government will we be prepared to back off. Otherwise, we will continue building blockades until doomsday,” he said.
Last November, more than 47 Orang Asli were handcuffed and led away by the Kelantan Forestry Department to allow logging to continue. Their blockades were also destroyed to allow passage of timber lorries and workers.
The Orang Asli claim the logging is destroying their livelihood as well as their family graves.-FMT