Malaysia has filed a lawsuit against an opposition-run state for infringing on an indigenous tribe’s land rights by handing out licences to plantation companies to cut down timber, the first such action by a sitting government (see news item below).
TTF: On the 4th of November 2018, TTF wrote:
The DAP is confident of capturing the hearts of those belonging to indigenous groups given the time Lim Kit Siang spent fighting for their rights in the late eighties and early nineties.
It is through him, we learnt, that between 1981 and 1987, many concessionaires linked to Mahathir’s cronies increased the rate of logging in Sarawak to encompass a whopping 700,000 – 800,000 acres of rainforest a year!
As a matter of fact, timber operations in the Baram and Marudi areas alone were carried out in three shifts, 24-hours daily.
These gruelling schedules destroyed entire sections of Sarawak’s rainforests virtually overnight and stripped the indigenous groups of their livelihoods.
It almost looked as if a large bulldozer had come in the darkness of night to eat into the life of the Ibans and Penans.
When these groups had nowhere to run, they sought help from the senior Lim who ended up paying a very heavy price fighting for their rights.
And today, the very man who made Lim pay that price is talking a helluva lot about instituting legal proceedings to protect the well-being of the Orang Asli.
So who’s going to compensate the Orang Asli in Sarawak for all the suffering Lim himself claimed Mahathir’s selfish and greedy cronies had caused them?
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has filed a lawsuit against an opposition-run state for infringing on an indigenous tribe’s land rights by handing out licences to plantation companies to cut down timber, the first such action by a sitting government.
Deforestation over the decades has displaced some of the dozens of indigenous groups in Malaysia from their customary land. Property development and palm oil, rubber and more recently durian plantations have also encroached on their land.
Activists have criticised consecutive Malaysian administrations for failing to protect the indigenous groups.
In a statement today, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said a civil lawsuit was filed against Kelantan after Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his cabinet decided to act on behalf of the Temiar tribe in the state.
Thomas said the Kelantan government had granted logging licences to private companies, and that these companies had entered the native land with heavy vehicles, clearing out truckloads of timber and vast areas of the forest to set up durian and rubber tree plantations.
“The federal government is instituting legal proceedings on behalf of the Orang Asli in recognition of the federal government’s constitutional and legal duty to protect and promote their well-being and advancement,” Thomas said. Orang Asli refers to indigenous people of peninsular Malaysia.
The Mahathir government was seeking legal recognition of the Temiar tribe’s land rights and injunctions to restrain private parties from encroaching and destroying the land, Thomas said.
Five private entities were also sued, Thomas said, though he did not identify them.
The move could be seen as political as Kelantan is governed by opposition Islamic party PAS, but activists welcomed it as a first step.
“Research by Amnesty has found that indigenous peoples of Malaysia continue to suffer from a wide range of human rights violations, including an absence of formal recognition of their land, as well as threats, intimidation and violence when they seek to claim their rights to the land,” said Rachel
Chhoa-Howard, Malaysia researcher at Amnesty International.
Source: The Mole