Calling the Selangor government’s position “inhumane”, MCA Youth central committee member Siew Shen Kae is the latest to weigh in after 12 families from the Mah Meri tribe in Kampung Orang Asli Bagan Lalang were issued eviction notices asking them to leave their homes within 30 days.
“This development project is only a potentially profitable business decision for the Selangor Government, but it has a major impact on the lives of the Orang Asli.
“The Mah Meri tribe understands that the residential area that has been inhabited for 20 years is not their absolute property, but the action of Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) to vacate the residential areas to make way for tourism development projects before holding negotiations and making proper arrangements is a very inhumane act.
“This issue also raises questions regarding the importance of economic development as opposed to the human rights of the Mah Meri tribe and the sustainability of the environment,” said Siew in a statement.
Yesterday, Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari disputed the accuracy of news reports on the matter in response to a tweet by singer Yuna who has come to the tribe’s defence.
Amirudin said that the tribe did not object to the eviction and had instead written to the landowners to seek a time extension to comply with the eviction order.
“While the state government respects the right to opinion and press freedom, the headline of the article is not true. The state government has been engaging with the Mah Meri community.
“Proper notice, balance consideration and humane idea of development will be given utmost importance,” he wrote in Twitter, while attaching a statement by PNSB on the matter.
Numerous netizens had rallied behind the Mah Meri community in Bagan Lalang who were facing eviction by PNSB to make way for a holiday resort in the midst of a pandemic and without compensation.
Yuna had compared the Mah Meri community’s plight to that of displaced Palestinians and urged Malaysians to sign a petition against the eviction order.
In response to these criticisms, Amirudin has been actively replying to various netizens, claiming that the eviction site was not a Mah Meri village but was instead a “temporary post” and the affected community had acknowledged the eviction notice.
Siew said that while the project could certainly increase income for the Selangor government, it should provide appropriate compensation and assistance.
“Otherwise, the Selangor government is just a government that only cares about income and is inhumane,” he said.
PNSB had claimed that they had engaged the settlers in November 2020 and on April 12 this year before an eviction notice was issued on April 20.
Dusun Tua assemblyperson Edry Faizal has also weighed in on the issue by claiming that the land in question was not “Orang Asli customary rights land”.
Edry, who claimed to have experience managing similar disputes in his constituency, urged critics to be careful and comb through the facts before making statements.
“When it comes to land matters (involving the Orang Asli), there is usually a lot of negotiations and efforts behind the scenes,” he said.