Gua Musang protesters liable to face action for blocking timber extraction

KOTA BARU: The group of protesters who are blocking timber lorry tracks in Gua Musang have been advised to stop immediately or face legal action.

Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said the state Forestry Department had issued notices to the party concerned to stop the blockage and disperse from the area.

"The action was to give loggers the opportunity to take out the felled timber logs," he told reporters after chairing the State Executive Council meeting at Kota Darul Naim Complex here, today.

On Oct 3, the state government issued a directive to halt all logging activities in the Balah Permanent Forest Reserve in Gua Musang after more than 200 Orang Asli made a blockage to prevent timber lorries from moving in and out of Kampung Petei (Gua Musang) since Sept 26.

The Orang Asli's protest was believed to be masterminded by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which called for all timber logging activities in the Balah reserve to cease as it alleged the activities had damaged the environment and depleted the forest which affected the livelihood of Orang Asli.

Ahmad said the Forestry Department had issued the notice on Nov 6 to the chairman or head of the NGO linked to the Orang Asli community to stop the blockage and disperse from the area.

"The people (Orang Asli) had come to discuss with the state government and we did not act arbitrarily," he said.

He also said the state government did not ignore the fate of the Orang Asli in the state. — Bernama