Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Orang asli seek more land - Star

Aug 27, 2008 By IVAN LOH

THE orang asli want the Perak Government to give them more land along with the titles previously announced for them.

Perak Network of Orang Asli Villages founder-adviser and secretary Tijah Yok Chopil said they were not happy with the pro-posed 3.34ha plot of land to be given to each orang asli family in the state.

Tijah said state senior excecutive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham had announced the news during the Hari Orang Asal Sedunia celebrations in Kampung Chang Sungai Gepor in Bidor, about 60km from Ipoh, on Aug 9.

“But we feel that the land proposed by the government was too little,” she told reporters in Ipoh on Monday.

Tijah said of the 3.34ha plot, 0.12ha was for each family’s home, 0.8ha for their orchard and 2.42ha for commercial farming.

“We not only need the land for economical purposes but also spiritually for our rituals and cultural activities,” she said.

“We appreciate the state go-vernment for giving us the land title but we want more land so that we won’t lose our heritage,” she added.

Tijah also said it was unclear whether the plot of land would be given w ithin their tanah adat (customary land).

“I believe I can speak for all the orang asli in the state,” Tijah said, adding that they have been visiting and getting feedbacks from orang asli villages.

She noted that there were about 45,000 orang asli in 203 villages throughout Perak.

Tijah said they were planning to have a discussion with the state government to come up with a win-win solution.

When contacted, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said he had not received any official letter from the orang asli and declined to comment.

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