Orang Asli blockade demolished, international journalist arrested

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Photograph: Peka Malaysia Facebook

Peka Malaysia has received information from the Orang Asli at Sungai Papan this morning, 1 August 2019, that their blockade has been destroyed and loggers have entered into their customary land escorted by officials from the Forestry Department.

We regret that the state authorities and loggers are adamant and continually encroaching into the Orang Asli customary lands despite numerous police reports and complaints having been lodged with the relevant authorities and ongoing investigations.

More shockingly, we have been informed by the Orang Asli there that an international media reporter has been taken into the custody of police and is being held at the Gerik Police Station. At the moment, we are clueless about the status of this reporter, who we believe is a Canadian national.

The arrest of a member of the media is tantamount to intervening with and a threat to media freedom. Arrest pending verification is also no excuse.

Graphic: Google Earth/COAC Facebook

The continual acts of this particular state authority and loggers and the complete disregard of the rights of the Orang Asli towards their customary lands and of the rule of law is intolerable.

As such, we Peka call upon the federal government and the relevant minister in charge to immediately intervene in this matter to protect and safeguard the Orang Asli from any form of abuse.

Peka calls for immediate intervention by the federal government to maintain the status quo at Kampung Sungai Papan and Kampung Cunex pending the determination of the Orang Asli’s land rights by the courts.

A moratorium on the logging must be immediately put in place to halt any irreparable damage or losses in these areas that would be detrimental to the Orang Asli way of life there.

READ MORE:  Release three detained Orang Asli, stop encroachments into their ancestral lands

Puan Sri To’ Puan Datuk Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil is president of Peka Malaysia.

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