IPOH: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is open to meeting with the Orang Asli community from the Pos Piah district in Sungai Siput to discuss the logging activities on their ancestral land.
“The ministry is more than happy to receive a delegation from the Orang Asli community should they wish to meet with and discuss is sues pertaining to the logging concessions with us,” its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told New Straits Times today.
He, however, clarified that the ministry can only advise the state government based on the outcome of the meeting, in accordance with the law.
“Forestry comes under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments. As such, each state is empowered to enact laws on forestry and to formulate forestry policy independently.
“The executive authority of the federal government only extends to the provision of advice and technical assistance to the states.
"This includes training, conduct of research and the maintenance of experimental and demonstration stations,” he said.
He said the National Land Council enables the federal and state governments to discuss and resolve common problems and issues relating to forestry policy, administration and management.
He said this would ensure a coordinated approach in the implementation of policies and programmes related to forestry.
He was commenting on claims that the logging activities there would affect the livelihood of the Orang Asli from the nearby settlements.
Wan Junaidi said the Perak state government has adhered to the forest management certification standards specified under the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators (MC&I).
He said the indicators include control of encroachment, illegal harvesting, hunting and settlement, availability of appropriate mechanisms for conflict resolution (including engagement with stakeholders) and appropriate mechanisms employed to resolve grievances.
He also said the rehabilitation of over-logged forests, especially on skid trails, temporary log yards and campsites, were being implemented.
He said a total of 104ha of Piah Forest Reserve (part of Compartment 253, 258 and 266) has been approved for forest harvesting activities by the Perak State Authority, with each license valid for a duration of six months.
Earlier today, Orang Asli representatives from four villages in Pos Piah, namely, Kampung Kembok, Kampung Piah, Kampung Gentes and Kampung Teras, submitted a memorandum to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir asking for his intervention on the matter.
North Perak Orang Asli Network chairman Najib Alang said the memorandum also included a request for the logging activity in the area to be reviewed.
“We hope the trees tagged for logging would not be chopped down as it would affect our livelihood as we depend on forest produce," said Najib.
It was recently reported that 11 Orang Asli were detained for stopping rangers from marking the trees for logging purposes.