IPOH, Nov 25 — The Orang Asli community in Perak today urged the state government to put in law the ancestral lands that are rightfully theirs to own once and for all.
Tok Batin Dahil Yok Chopil from Kampung Chang Sungai Gepai in Bidor said that the issues of encroachment, selling Orang Asli ancestral land to private sectors and carrying out development in Orang Asli villages has been going on since independence from colonial British rule over 60 years ago.
“We want the state government to settle the issue once and for all. We have been occupying the lands for hundreds of years and the next thing we know someone else owns the land.
“We are not asking the government to give us the entire state or country. We only wanted the allocated area in our villages which rightfully belongs to us,” he told reporters outside the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building here today.
Dahil said that the Orang Asli community had sent five memorandums since 2003 urging the government to gazette their ancestral lands but have not received a clear response to date.
“There is no proper response from the state government until today. How long do we have to wait to get ownership of our ancestral land?
“Whenever we develop the land for farming or for matters to support our livelihood, there will be some party claiming that they own the land even though we have been occupying it for years,” he said.
Dahil hopes that current Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohammad will gazette the Orang Asli ancestral land, and base it according to the size and map of each village in Perak.
Earlier, Dahil sent the memorandum over the issue to Mentri Besar office’s administrative assistant officer Nurul Aina Ashikin Khairul Anuar.
Also present during the handover of memorandum were representatives from Orang Asli community from Mualim, Batang Padang, Kinta and Hilir Perak districts.