BERSIH 2.0 is horrified to learn that the Kelantan Forestry Department has once again destroyed the Orang Asli blockade at Simpang Petei and arrested five activists yesterday.
Their heartless action shows once again a complete disregard for Orang Asli life and livelihood in favour of greed. It bears reminding that the Orang Asli are the rightful owners of the land, a right that was supported by the court’s decision last week. (http://www.malaysiakini.com/
What the Forestry Department is doing is a flagrant abuse of human rights, threatening the Orang Asli’s fundamental right to life as their way of life is tied to their ancestral land.
BERSIH 2.0 has also learned that the arrested activists were not taken to the police station, but rather to the Forestry Department office. The officers confiscated personal effects such as motorcycles and handphones and were actively trying to isolate the Orang Asli community.
Just this morning, 16 more activists and two journalists were also arrested. There are also plans to destroy another Orang Asli blockade.
The Forestry Department has gone too far. They have overstepped their authority and jurisdiction ignoring all due process and protocol. Their conduct is that of thugs and gangsters and are simply against the law. It must not and will not be tolerated.
The Kelantan state government must immediately apologise and publicly declare its recognition of the Orang Asli’s right to their land.
All harassment and destruction of their properties must stop immediately. All logging activities in the Balah permanent forest reserve must also cease as such actions are illegal and against the rights of the Orang Asli.
Signed by the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee members