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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

‘Our villages not mentioned in EIA report’

The Seletar natives in two villages protested when they found out that their areas were not recognised in an EIA report submitted by a developer.
PETALING JAYA: The Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) which is developing 4,000 acres of land in Johor has breached into an Orang Asli settlement prompting the community to protest against the company’s public environment impact assessment (EIA) report.
The EIA report was done by IWH, a government linked company, for the Johor Environment Department.
A group of 30 natives from the Seletar tribe held a protest this afternoon because the company excluded two villages from the report.
“The development project did not include Kampung Sungai Temon and the graveyard in Kampung Bakar Batu which is in Pulai, Johor,” said Edy Salim, a representative of Jaringan Masyarakat Orang Asli Seletar Johor.
The EIA report prepared by Iskandar Waterfront stated that both the areas are not within the Orang Asli reserve land and that there are no overlaps, he told FMT.
Another major concern of the Orang Asli community is the felling of mangrove jungle which is located at the estuaries of the Skudai and Danga rivers.
“As it is, some parts of the mangrove jungle have been cleared. We do not want it to get worse. The felling must be stopped,” said Edy.
He added that the Orang Asli there and local fishermen rely heavily on the mangrove jungle for their daily catch of fish.
After the protest, representatives from the Seletar tribe were invited to discuss the issue with the department officials.
“Thankfully the department has decided to keep the EIA report on hold at the moment. Approval would be given after they negotiate with Indah Waterfront and include our interests as well. We’re the stakeholders here,” said Edy.
This problem faced by the Seletar community is not new. Though the community had lived there for a long time, the state government had failed to recognise the two village areas as Orang Asli reserve land

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