MERSING - The Johor Forestry Department has confirmed that the demolition of the orang asli village in Gunung Arong was done during a joint enforcement operation.
"The area that they have been living in is a permanent forest reserve, and does not belong to the orang asli. We have given them a year to move out.
"Despite issuing several notices, they are still reluctant to relocate.
"We have given them ample time and even referred them to the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa), but they still refused to move," said state Forestry director Mohd Ridza Awang.
He said the operation, involving 113 officers from nine relevant agencies, was conducted in an orderly manner and the authorities aided the small community in evacuating whatever they could.
Among the agencies involved were the Forestry Department, police and Rela and the Mersing local council.
In Kuala Lumpur, Jakoa director-general Datuk Hasnan Hassan said the orang asli were from Pahang.
"Five houses are being built for them in Rompin, Pahang, and will be completed mid-next month," he said, adding that he would investigate the matter as the department had earlier requested for the demolition to be delayed.