Allegations that Christian missionaries are the hidden hands behind the Orang Asli blockades to prevent logging in Gua Musang is irresponsible propaganda, says Husam Musa.
He said when the Orang Asli rose up to protect their livelihood, people said that Christians were using them, while Muslims who helped the Orang Asli are accused of being complicit.
“So we are afraid to go and see what is happening. If we go, we are branded as tools of Christians.
“Is this the attitude of our government?” the former PAS vice-president asked at a lecture he held at his home today.
Husam, who had just returned from visiting the Orang Asli villagers yesterday, however, did not say who had made such claims, but said that the claims only served to hide the problems faced by the Orang Asli villagers.
The Salor assemblyman said ignoring the plight of the Orang Asli went against the teachings of Islam which called for all human beings to be respected.
Husam, who is Kelantan Amanah adviser, said that the Orang Asli areas which he visited had been affected by logging activities, including by Kelantan Government-linked companies, for the past seven years.
He said the state government had allowed the loggers to extract timber, but the loggers had “picked clean” the area, including clearing Orang Asli graves for a plantation site.
“When the big trees at the Orang Asli settlement were cut down, they remained quiet.
“But after their farms and graves were cleared, they started to rise up and set up blockades.”
Recently, lawyer-activist Siti Kasim highlighted that Orang Asli villagers living in Gua Musang had set up blockades to protest against rampant logging activities in the area.
This subsequently led to the arrest of three Orang Asli.
Subsequently, Kelantan Forestry Department Director Zahari Ibrahim clarified that the logging carried out there was legal and did not involve Orang Asli reserve land.
Later on, the state government ordered an immediate halt to logging activities in the reserve area until further notice.