Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Ahead of land talks, Selangor Orang Asli village hopes for the best but braces for the worst

They are hoping for some measure of reparation to allow them to start a new life elsewhere, as their eviction looms.

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With the fate of an Orang Asli settlement in Selangor hanging in the balance ahead of a meeting between a land developer and the local authorities today, villagers are only hoping for some measure of reparation to allow them to start a new life elsewhere.

Residents at Kampung Orang Asli Bagan Lalang were issued an eviction notice by Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and the state government on April 20.

The notice, stuck on the door of each house in the village, said residents were required to leave and surrender the land to PNSB within 30 days.

A community leader who identified himself as Taha said they were aware that they had no legal right to the land.

“We know that we are just ‘menumpang’,” he said, using the Malay word for squatting.

“But to move out from this place will take money.”

This is money that few if any of them have.

The eviction notice had clearly stated that the cost of moving out must be borne by the villagers, who would not be allowed to demand reparation for the money spent on the site.

“We know that we are just ‘menumpang’.”

Tenya Atan, one of the first settlers in the area, said while the community agreed with the decision, they were saddened by the words used in the notice.

“We were not trespassing on the land,” she said. “There was nobody living here. We did not grow any crops over time.

“We opened the settlement but we did not trespass,” she told MalaysiaNow.

Taha meanwhile attributed the problem to others who had moved in and settled nearby, encroaching on land owned by PNSB.

“It would not be a problem if there were just us, the Orang Asli,” he said, adding that no one had disturbed them for two decades before this.

Some 13 Orang Asli live in the area which is home to about 30 people of various ethnicities.

It is understood that today’s discussion will involve PNSB and the Sepang Land District Office.

Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari previously said that everything was being done according to provisions in the law, and that the state government had received a request for an extension of the pre-eviction period.

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