Orang Asli in four villages fear land will be taken away

An Orang Asli village in Bukit Tampoi.

IPOH - Orang Asli villagers in four kampungs in Cameron Highlands are fearful that their ancestral land is being encroached to the detriment of their livelihood.

They claimed 121.7ha of their land have been encroached near Kampung Pawong, Kampung Chiduk, Kampung Palas and Kampung Sungai Penuh - all located after Pos Slim, just before Kampung Raja.

Kampung Pawong representative Johar Changgang said they first learned about a proposed project on their land when a signboard announcing a development project was erected in mid-August.

"I am not sure about the development plan and whether it has been approved, but on Oct 15, we started seeing workers coming in to pave roads for about 15 lorries to enter.

"I am worried that our livelihood will be badly affected as we plant rubber, fruits and vegetables on the land that is the rice bowl of 45 Orang Asli families here.

"Furthermore, around 30 of our ancestors are buried there," he said here yesterday.

Fellow villager Bahitam Pandak, 33, who has been living there since birth, said he was distressed at the thought of losing his main source of income.

"I plant durian, rambutan, petai and rubber to put food on the table for the family, and I will not allow our land to be taken away like that."