Non-Muslims musn’t be forced, says Chinese group on Maghrib closure

Source: FMT News

Non-Muslim traders shouldn't be subjected to the same policy, to the point that they too, would be fined for not abiding by it, says Chinese community leader. Pic from FMT News.

Non-Muslim traders shouldn’t be subjected to the same policy, to the point that they too, would be fined for not abiding by it, says Chinese community leader. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Non-Muslim traders in Kelantan should not be forced to close their businesses during the Maghrib prayer time, a Chinese community leader from the state said today.

Kelantan Peranakan Chinese Association (PPCK) president Lim Kham Hong was asked to comment on the state government’s policy requiring all traders to stop their activities during the Maghrib prayers.

“We have no problem closing our shop temporarily to make way for Maghrib prayers, but non-Muslim traders shouldn’t be forced into doing so,” Lim said, adding that the policy should be enforced only on Muslims traders.

“What’s important is that the policy doesn’t affect those from other religions, where they are forced to stop their activities instead of doing so willingly. That, we do not agree with.”

Lim added that it should also not be enforced to the point that non-Muslims traders would be fined for not abiding by the policy. Read more

Why the Orang Asli blockade in Kelantan matters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A small group of 15 people gather outside the national headquarters of PAS on Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur tonight to express solidarity with the native Temiar people of Gua Musang, Kelantan, November 30, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

A small group of 15 people gather outside the national headquarters of PAS on Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur tonight to express solidarity with the native Temiar people of Gua Musang, Kelantan, November 30, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — For many within the Temiar Orang Asli community, the forest in Gua Musang, Kelantan represents much more than just a place to call home.

It is where they seek shelter, hunt for food as well bury their dead, and they have been doing so for centuries without any incident. In return, they do their part and abide by strict ceremonial customs to safeguard and preserve the forest as well as the creatures that live in it.

But all this is rapidly changing, due to the aggressive deforestation by developers and which is sanctioned by the PAS-led Kelantan government. Logging is the main source of income for the one of Malaysia’s poorest states, so it is unlikely that their position on the matter will change anytime soon.

A new documentary titled Fighting for My Home for Channel News Asia’s Get Real programme has shed some new insight into the matter, as the affected Temiar community speak up on why they continue to stand by their blockade efforts to save the forest.  [Admin.: The video links appear at the end of this post] Read more

Documentary maker: Kelantan Forestry offered to settle case with RM1k fine

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Over 200 Orang Asli had put up a blockade at the Balah Forest Reserve in Gua Musang since September 26 to prevent logs from being taken out from the area. — Bernama pic

Over 200 Orang Asli had put up a blockade at the Balah Forest Reserve in Gua Musang since September 26 to prevent logs from being taken out from the area. — Bernama pic

PETALING JAYA, Feb 27 — The Kelantan Forestry Department offered to drop a case against two journalists if they agree to plead guilty and pay a RM1,000 fine, documentary maker Jules Rahman Ong claimed today.

Ong and his cameraman colleague Too Chee Hung were arrested last month by state forestry officers while shooting a documentary on the plight of Orang Asli villagers defending their homes in forest reserves in Gua Musang.

Speaking to reporters here, Ong said the offer was made last Friday.

He also said the Forestry Department’s investigative officer in charge of the duo’s case had informed them that the investigation papers on their case have yet to be sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

“(He) kind of persuaded us to just settle it out of court and pay the fine and plead guilty.

“In fact we told him if you have done your investigation and you are going to see the DPP, if that is the procedure, then go ahead,” he said, using the abbreviation for deputy public prosecutor.

He said the duo will not be paying the RM1,000 fine and will instead wait for the AGC to decided whether or not to press charges against them.

“To do that (pay the fine), I feel like I’ll be sending a message that it is ok for the government to curtail our rights to access of information. Read more

Kelantan Orang Asli stage protest march in KL

Source: FMT News

By Faiz Zainudin

orngasliprotes

Orang Asli protestors in KL on 15 February, 2017 – Pic from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of 50 Orang Asli from Gua Musang, Kelantan, today gathered outside the Forestry Department here to protest the tearing down of anti-logging blockades in the Balah forest reserve.

Lawyer and human rights activist Siti Kasim, along with representatives of 20 NGOs, including Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa and Suara Rakyat Malaysia, took part.

They marched about 1km from Wisma Tani to the department’s headquarters on Jalan Sultan Salahuddin here.

The group was denied entry into the Forestry Department building by security guards.

That did not stop the protesters from speaking out against alleged mistreatment of the Orang Asli in Kelantan.

Read more

PAS leaders only good for felling trees, says Perkasa

Source: FMT News

Ibrahim Ali - Pic from FMT News

Ibrahim Ali – Pic from FMT News

By Aedi Asri

KUALA LUMPUR: Though Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali is supportive of PAS’ efforts to empower the shariah courts, he is critical of the way the PAS-led Kelantan government has handled the issue of logging in Gua Musang.

“Good that PAS has Islam in its name but it has stupid leaders who only know how to chop down trees.

“I’m not pointing at any PAS leader in particular, but I’m disappointed,” he said in a press conference at the Perkasa headquarters here yesterday.

Ibrahim was referring to the Kelantan government’s logging activities in Gua Musang which had led to a standoff with the Orang Asli, who claimed their way of life and their livelihoods were increasingly threatened by deforestation.

Since September last year, the Orang Asli have built illegal barricades around the Balah permanent forest reserve to prevent transportation of timber. Read more

Ruckus again at Gua Musang Authorities break Temiar blockades, held journalists released

Source: The Star Online

Freed: Forest officers released Too (left) and Ong from the department’s office in Gua Musang. Pic form the Star Online.

Freed: Forest officers released Too (left) and Ong from the department’s office in Gua Musang. Pic from the Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: After a brief lull, the controversy surrounding the anti-logging blockades set up by the Temiar orang asli near Gua Musang has flared up again.

The latest direct confrontation between the opposing sides followed a major operation by the Kelantan Forestry Department, which dismantled two barricades in the Balah forest reserve – one in Simpang Petei on Monday and another in Matau Cawas near Pos Bihai yesterday.

At the Matau Cawas blockade, the department’s enforcement officers arrested two freelance journalists, Ong Ju Lim, 46, and Too Chee Hung, 36, as well as 16 orang asli.

The orang asli were later released at the blockade site while Ong and Too were taken to the department’s office in Gua Musang.

According to a statement from Singapore-based Channel NewsAsia, Ong had been engaged by the news agency to produce a documentary on deforestation in Kelantan. Read more

Stop bulldozing Orang Asli rights, respect court verdict

Source: FMT News

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel slams Kelantan forestry department for ignoring court ruling denying bid to dismantle blockade.

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel slams Kelantan forestry department for ignoring court ruling denying bid to dismantle blockade.

PETALING JAYA: The Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) has called into question the Kelantan government’s understanding of a recent court verdict that the Orang Asli are rightful owners of their land.

Condemning the state forestry department’s move yesterday morning to break down blockades set up by the native occupants in the interiors of Gua Musang, and arresting 5 Orang Asli leaders, C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel accused state authorities of being confused over what the court ruling meant.

“Wasn’t it just last week that the courts ruled clearly that the Orang Asli are the rightful occupiers of the land their blockades are set up on, and thus have control of the area? Read more

Loggers lose bid to tear down orang asli blockade

Source: The Star Online

Photo credit: Siti Kasim. Pic taken from The Star Online.

Photo credit: Siti Kasim. Pic taken from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: The Gua Musang magistrate’s court has rejected a logging company’s application to tear down the orang asli blockade there in what is a significant legal victory for the orang asli community protesting against logging there.

Lawyer Siti Kasim, who represented the orang asli said that the logging company, Jajaran Wawasan Enterprise, made an application under Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code over land in Pos Balar.

“The court rejected their application. The court believes that the orang asli are the ones with the rightful occupation and actual possession of the land,” said Siti.

Section 99 allows for the courts to declare a party to be entitled to retain possession of property, in this case the land, if there was a dispute over it by different parties in terms of who was in actual possession of it.

One party applies to be declared in actual possession while the other parties attempt to disprove their claim in court, after which the court makes its decision.

“Actual possession is when you are in occupation of the land. You are in control of the land. You live there,” explained Siti.

While this decision only applies to a portion of the land the orang asli are claiming in the Balah forest reserve, Siti said it set the precedent for the orang asli to use against the other logging companies operating there. Read more

The Kelantan floodgate: Part II — Isham Jalil

Source: NST Online

BY ISHAM JALIL

NST file pix -- A villager evacuating her home in Rantau Panjang early January 2017. In the two recent floods in Kelantan, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and homes were destroyed. Bernama Photo, taken from NST Online.

NST file pix — A villager evacuating her home in Rantau Panjang early January 2017. In the two recent floods in Kelantan, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and homes were destroyed. Bernama Photo, taken from NST Online.

THE Kelantan government is still in denial that logging and land-clearing activities have caused or worsened floods, even after the 2014 flood, which was the worst the country has ever seen in almost half a century.

The state authority reiterated that logging did not cause the floods but rain did, and that the floodwaters did not come from the logging areas, but from the national park. Unfortunately, pivoting the rhetoric isn’t going to solve the problem, nor does it relieve the suffering of Kelantan people affected by the floods each year.

Despite the denial, several experts from various fields, including meteorology, forestry and sustainable development, have highlighted overwhelming evidence linking land clearing and worsening floods in Kelantan — such as alluvial deposits as far as 1,000m from riverbanks seen post-flood, formation of acres of sandbars in Sungai Kelantan due to accelerated erosion upstream, and countless satellite images showing soil erosion from cleared forest.

The United Nations has stated that deforestation may be one of the principal causes of severe flooding. This is evidenced by the floods in Bangladesh in 1998, Haiti in 2004 and Mexico in 2007.

Experts say soil eroded from cleared land flows into adjacent rivers, causing siltation and shallowing of the riverbeds, hence, worsening the flood. Read more

The Kelantan floodgate: Part I — Isham Jalil

Source: NST Online

KOTA BHARU 28 MARCH 2016. ( FILE PIX 08 DECEMBER 2015 / KBE983C ) Kawasan pembalakan haram yang dirakam anggota penguatkuasa Jabatan Perhutanan Kelantan di Hutan Simpan Kekal Chiku, Gua Musang pada akhir tahun lepas. IHSAN JABATAN PERHUTANAN KELANTAN

KOTA BHARU 28 MARCH 2016. ( FILE PIX 08 DECEMBER 2015 / KBE983C ) Kawasan pembalakan haram yang dirakam anggota penguatkuasa Jabatan Perhutanan Kelantan di Hutan Simpan Kekal Chiku, Gua Musang pada akhir tahun lepas. IHSAN JABATAN PERHUTANAN KELANTAN

BY ISHAM JALIL

This is a story about the Kelantan flood; about how a natural disaster could have been mitigated by humans but wasn’t, and even worsened by them.

In 1990, Pas took over the Kelantan government from Barisan Nasional. Three years earlier, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the then prime minister, had marginally defeated Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in a bitter fight for the Umno president’s post. Tengku Razaleigh, still fresh with wounds from the fight, had his revenge in the 1990 general election when he and his newly formed party, Semangat 46, helped Pas defeat BN to win the state. Dr Mahathir had lost Kelantan to Pas and Tengku Razaleigh, and he was upset and angry.

Subsequently, throughout the 1990s under Dr Mahathir’s administration, the federal budget allocation to Kelantan was significantly cut. Between 1991 and 1995, under the 6th Malaysia Plan, less than one per cent of the RM116 billion federal development expenditure was allotted to Kelantan, the lowest allocation compared with all other states. This practice continued until 2003.

Consequently, there were very few development activities in Kelantan during the 1990s. Highways, roads and dams that were supposed to be built were cancelled. Economic growth was inhibited, and job availability was limited. As a result, there was a mass exodus of locals out of Kelantan during this period. Hundreds of thousands of Kelantan folk had to emigrate to find jobs. Currently, it is estimated that one in three of the 1.5 million Kelantan people live and work outside the state. If Dr Mahathir had intended to punish Pas and Tengku Razaleigh, the Kelantan people were collateral damage. Read more