State governments urged to set up task force to tackle Orang Asli land issues

KUALA LUMPUR: Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today proposed that all state governments create a task force to monitor cases involving Orang Asli land disputes.

He said the existence of the task force could help the state governments to speed up the process of approving applications for gazetting of Orang Asli reserve land in each state.

"Of the total 134,513ha of reserve land, only 33,692ha have been surveyed and gazetted thus far, the rest is still in the process of surveying. So we ask the state governments to expedite the process of approval of the application to gazette Orang Asli reserve land.

"On behalf of the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, the surveying of the Orang Asli reserve land by the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) will be completed by September," he said at a press conference after chairing the 15th National Orang Asli Community Development Advisory Council Meeting here.

On the development of basic infrastructure in the Orang Asli settlements, he said that up to now 85.5% of the road projects involving 729 villages, out of 853 registered villages, were completed.

A total of 686 Orang Asli villages have electricity while 693 villages enjoy treated water.

"Overall, more than 80% of basic infrastructure facilities have been successfully built and provided in the Orang Asli villages that are registered nationwide," he said.

Earlier, in his speech Ismail Sabri stressed that the government, through JAKOA, will continue to focus on efforts to eradicate poverty among Orang Asli.

For this year, JAKOA received an allocation of RM115.9 million for the implementation of development projects in the Orang Asli villages including the Orang Asli Village Integrated Development Programme throughout the country, treated water supply projects and economic and entrepreneurial development programmes. — Bernama