Published: 06 February 2015
Comment by Colin Nicholas following the MKiniTV vdeo entitled: Orang Asli activist claims Siti Kasim stopped aid to 3 villages
Lest any viewer might be thinking that my comments as given in this video were in relation to the episode involving the MEDRF and Siti in an earlier MkiniTV video, please know that it is not so. I was not there during that incident and have no intention to comment on it, or on the previous tiff they had with each other over similar issues.
My comments were in direct response to some of the issues raised in Siti's FB posting on 5 February 2015. Especially to those parts that concerned me personally and the flood relief effort in that area.
First, she had stated that: "Dendi, one of the OA who worked with us said the instructions came from Colin. So, my friend talked to Colin and still did not get a clear answer on why he instructed these MEDRF group to deliver food from our base."
In my (video) response I tried again to explain why the MEDRF and other wellwishers with 4WDs were asked to help out with the food distribution. Essentially, there were still a number of areas which needed to be supplied with the food aid and 4WDs were required. Several people thus volunteered to deliver the food, including MEDRF, and they were coordinated by the local Flood Relief Committee for this.
Second, in her opening paragraph, Siti also insinuated that her first food mission, with help from Komas and the Bar Council, was on 1st January. In my response, I say that she is not at all correct about the chronology of events. Or where the first food aid came from.
Normally, I would let such inaccuracies pass as they do very little to improve an already misleading reporting of events.
What prompted me to make a rather public response was a result of what the Orang Asli ground committee members were relating to me during the two days Siti and her team were in the area. All this was really very distressing to hear and to take in.
During my recent visit to Kampung Parik over the last two days, I was able to hear first hand what transpired there, and how Siti and some of her group treated them and their property. There was, they say, barking of orders, display of arrogance, disrespect of the people and the culture, and more.
Some will say this is hearsay. But they said it to me, and I choose to trust them more than anybody else in this matter.
The situation was so tense on the first day that one Orang Asli leader broke down and cried and almost collapsed in a faint. He is seeking traditional treatment from his shaman to restore the 'soul-loss' he experienced that day.
I am also told the whole local committee refused to work on the heli drops the next day and let Siti and her group do whatever they wanted. It was, after all, as Siti said in the MEDRF video, "our place" and "our food". That statement, if you really think about it, reveals the crux of the problem.
Like Siti said, I have known her for some years. I have tolerated her antics and expressions of gallant volunteerism because it usually concerned her. But the line is drawn when she treats the Orang Asli in a manner that is most condescending, demeaning and dehumanising, with or without swear words.
So, yes, for this reason I am willing to sacrifice whatever little integrity and credibility I have and rake in the mud.
[One correction I have to make about what I said in the interview: The JOAS truck that was stopped was destined for Pos Balar, not Bihai as stated. The people in Pos Balar had arranged with the committee earlier to wait at Kampung Tapai to pick up the food. Pos Balar was then, and still is, inaccessible by 4WD and requires a journey of at least 4 hours on foot for the people to pick up the supplies at the collection point at Kampung Tapai. If the Balar people had walked out as prearranged (there is no mobile communication with them) it would appear that they would have walked out in vain that day. When the MKiniTV call came on Thursday, the JOAS truck had just left for Bihai, another destination in a different direction from Pos Balar. This is probably why I said Bihai instead of Balar.]
6 February 2015