Temiars urge gazetting of native customary land

The Temiar in Kampung Kelaik, Pos Blau are urging the Kelantan government to gazette their native customary land. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 18, 2023.

ALARMED by rampant land clearing near their settlement to make way for agricultural activities, the Temiar in Kampung Kelaik, Pos Blau are urging Kelantan to gazette their native customary land. 

A resident, Uda Busu, 42, said only 100 settlers were left at the settlement from the initial 200 because most of them had moved to the nearby iron ore mining areas as food and forest products were getting scarce. 

He said the settlement, which had been inhabited by his ancestors for years, is now surrounded by various agricultural projects such as durian and oil palm estates as well as vegetable farms. 

“Recently, the residents’ rambutan, rubber, and durian farms in Kuala Cenroi (Pos Blau) were destroyed by the company and we were not given compensation. We do not know who to approach to claim compensation. 

“If the land is gazetted as our land, we will not have this problem but now we are treated like outsiders. We are also Malaysians; the authorities should meet us to discuss before giving permission to the company involved,” he said when met by reporters recently.

Another resident, Billy Ibrahim, 39, said he was very worried about the issue and urged an immediate gazetting of the customary land. 

“We appeal for the cooperation of those in authority in the country to declare that the Orang Asli of Kampung Kelaik hold customary rights to the land. 

“Now we are tightly squeezed and maybe after this we will soon be forced to live on trees, under bridges or by the roadside,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Kelantan Orang Asli Villages Network deputy chairman Nasir Dollah, 36, said the gazetting of Orang Asli land would guarantee the community’s settlement would not be encroached upon. 

“If there is no black and white, of course the area that we consider to be Orang Asli land could be taken away any time. In other states, the land has been gazetted but not our settlement here,” he said. – Bernama, September 18, 2023. 

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