IPOH, July 20 (Bernama) -- Three Orang Asli had their statements taken by police this morning, in connection with a blockade put up on Thursday to prevent logging activities on a 42-hectare area in Kampung Papan, Gerik.
According to Perak police chief Datuk Razarudin Husain, the three men who have not been arrested, were taken to the Gerik police station as loggers had lodged a police report about several wooden blockades which had been erected to prevent logging activities and access to the area.
He told Bernama today that the three Orang Asli were believed to have incited others to erect the blockades, and therefore, police wished to get their statements and diffuse the situation.
Razarudin also said that the logging activities were believed to have been approved by the state government and had begun one year ago.
He clarified that the three were allowed to return home after giving their statements, adding that the matter would be further discussed with the Orang Asli community by the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA).
Meanwhile, Gerik police chief Supt Ismail Che Isa said the men, aged 22, 36 and 38, were released after the documentation process.
He said employees of the logging company, Sedia Visijaya Sdn Bhd broke through a human barricade formed by 25 Orang Asli this morning.
Ismail said the company had lodged three police reports since last Wednesday after the Orang Asli community from Kampung Sungai Papan erected blockades at the entrance of the area.
He said 45 Orang Asli headed by Anjang bin Aluej also took part in the human barricade to prevent the logging company from taking down the blockades on Thursday, adding that the Perak / Kedah Jakoa had also asked the logging company to postpone tearing down the blockades and to start a negotiation process.
"The Jakoa held a discussion at the Perak Jakoa Office in Ipoh with those involved yesterday, but the Orang Asli maintained its stand to defend the blockades so as to prevent logging activities, citing that the area was their ancestral land," he said.
He said the company had made another police report yesterday against the Orang Asli group which erected the blockade to stop logging activities in the Air Chepam Forest Reserve area.