Orang Asli asks court to protect ancestral land

Published: 05 November 2014

Bah Tony with some of the villagers at the Ipoh High Court yesterday. Pix: P. Chandran Sagaran

Bah Tony with some of the villagers at the Ipoh High Court yesterday. Pix: P. Chandran Sagaran



P. Chandra Sagaran
The Sun | 5 November 2014 

A group of Orang Asli from Kampung Kuala Senta, Bidor, filed an affidavit in the High Court today to prevent a developer from claiming their ancestral land for commercial development.

This is the first such case in the state of Perak, where an Orang Asli community is fighting to keep their customary land. Some 20 people from the village were present in court.

The affidavit was filed in response to the company getting an eviction notice to ask his clients to vacate the land, said lawyer Bah Tony who is representing the Orang Asli community.

The community is fighting for two lots of land measuring 113.70ha where they have been cultivating their own agriculture produce for the past 100 years. Apart from cultivation, the villagers also carry out their ceremonial and rituals there.

Some 500 villagers from 100 families are staying in Kampung Kuala Senta located 500m away from the lots.

Village Tok Batin, Bah Kanah Bah Ngah said the matter has been brought up to the Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir and hope that the matter will be resolved soon.

"The company want possession of the land by evicting us which will only deprive us of our livelihood and leaving us with no place to go," he told reporters after filing the affidavit.

The villagers want Zambry to visit the village to understand the problem they have been facing. The state government alienated the land in 2012.

According to Bah Kanah, the development include construction of a hotel and agro tourism projects. The villagers had stopped surveyors from the company to measure the land last year.

The plaintiff would file their case on Nov 20.