"Confusion" led to inclusion of Orang Asli land in Ladang Rakyat project

SULAIMAN JAAFAR


KOTA BARU: Perbadanan Pembangunan Ladang Rakyat Negeri Kelantan (Ladang Rakyat), which is involved in a legal tussle with the Temiar Orang Asli residents of Pos Belatim, Gua Musang over customary land rights, has been asked by the Kelantan government to clearly state their stand on the issue.

Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said it has always been the state government’s policy not to award companies projects in areas in which Orang Asli settlements are located.

"However, in this case, we believe there was some confusion which led to the Orang Asli settlement being included in the Ladang Rakyat project.

“Following the court’s decision, we will review the project," he told reporters here, today.

Amar was speaking to reporters after the presentation of a RM75.5 million cheque by the federal government to the state government for the allowances of Iman, Kafa and mosque teachers.

On Sunday, the High Court here ruled that an area covering 9,300 hectares at Pos Belatim, Gua Musang, should remain Orang Asli customary land.

When handing out the judgement, judge Datuk Zainal Azman Ab Aziz revoked an agreement signed by the Kelantan government to develop a 1,000 hectare site in the area for the Ladang Rakyat project.

He ordered the Kelantan government and the State Land and Mines Department, who were named as the respondents, to carry out a survey of the area, and gave them a month from today to do so.