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Sustainable development must consider the needs of Orang Asli

KUALA LUMPUR, The Kelantan government, in setting the objectives of sustainable development in the state, must take into account the needs of the minority groups, including the Orang Asli community, to ensure that they will not be left behind, an environmental expert said.

Lecturer of Faculty of Environmental Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Dr Yusoff Ishak said among the needs were to recognise the rights of Orang Asli to land ownership, conservation of cultures and traditions, as well as access to education and health.

We have to give them the right to land ownership because it is very important to the Orang Asli because they are very close to nature, to their land.

If we can do this, land encroachment will not be an issue, he said when appearing in the Bernama News Channel’s Ruang Bicara programme Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, senior lecturer of UPM Faculty of Human Ecology Dr Mohd Roslan Rosnon said all proposed development should also take into consideration the cultures and traditions of the Orang Asli community so as not to tamper with their ecosystem.

Uncontrolled development will cause them to be trapped and unable to go out and find food or clean water sources. This situation will give a very bad impact to the Orang Asli ecosystem, he said.

As such, Roslan said the needs of the Orang Asli should be understood to ensure that all the development brought to them would be implemented according to their perspectives.

He said deforestation, if done at one’s whim and fancy, would also destroy the lives of the Orang Asli as they were depending on the forest as their source of survival.

That’s probably what happened in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, when the iron ore mining activity continues despite the fact that the operator’s licence had been terminated in 2017…this activity has probably brought about negative impact to the Orang Asli community in the area.

So, we have to be careful in bringing development to such areas so that we will not destroy the existing ecosystem of the Orang Asli, he added.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

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