Kelantan Not Learning

Published: 15 March 2015

In October 2012, we put up a post ( on the environmental and social disaster that was happening in the interiors of Kelantan. The state government's determined push to create oil palm and rubber 'forests' by clear-cutting vast tracts of biodiversity-rich ancient rainforests., not only placed Orang Asli lands and lives in jeopardy, but also threatened the livelihoods of the people of Kelantan.

To those familiar with the goings-on in the interior areas of Kelantan, the destruction and damage caused by the floods of December 2014 was a disaster just waiting to happen. God, however named, had no part in it.

The clearance and scraping away of the skin of the earth exposed the ground and could not slow down the flow and absorption of rain water. Hence why there was a quick rise of flood waters laden with tons of mud. The thick layer of mud – up to 6 feet in height in some places – is a tell-tale sign that it was not just rains that caused the devastating floods.

During a recent visit to the Pasik-Pulat hinterland in the Gua Musang district, we saw that the logging and land clearing is back to normal. In fact, it is more intensive now as loggers and land developers seek to recoup lost revenue caused by the work stoppage during the floods.

Because Orang Asli customary rights to their lands are not recognized by the government, vast areas of their territories are allowed to be logged, cleared, and planted with rubber or oil palm by corporations, some of whom are not from Kelantan, under the guise of ladang rakyats or people's plantations. 


Clearly the name is an incongruity as the people of Kelantan bore the brunt of the floods. While many of the 200,000 victims are still trying to recover and rebuild, the Kelantan government chooses to push ahead with its environmentally-destructive and people-disregarding 'development' programme.

As for the Temiars here, the struggle continues to get the government to recognize their rights. Especially their right to live in their own ecological niches that is still forested and intact. 

Fopr more by Colin Nicholas & Koong Hui Yein, please go to the album at this link: Kelantan not learning photos

CN-COAC | 15 March 2015