Sunday, July 01, 2007

Orang Asli Church Demolished

Orang Asli is like the indigenous people with most of them living in the rural areas of Malaysia. There is an Orang Asli community at Kampung Jias near Gua Musang in the state of Kelantan with the community being christian believers.

The of the community, christian believer himself decided to donate a plot of the land he owned in order for a church building to be built as a place of worship. Approvals were obtained from Village Development and Security Committee (Jawatankuasa Kemajuan & Keselamatan Kampung or JKKK) and the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (Jabatan Hal-Ehwal Orang Asli or JHEOA) (but subsequently a complication arose too).

In the midst of constructing the church building, officials from the Gua Musang District Land Office and Gua Musang District Council officials came on 3 occasions to issue stop work order. An official letter from the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship ("NECF") disputing such stop work order which claimed that the property was a native customary land by virtue of Section 2 (7)(1) and (8)(1) of the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954. In spite of the NECF letter and a legal letter here and here representing the community head, the District offices couldn't be bothered.
Despite various efforts being made to save the situation, the completed church building was demolished on 4 June. You can see in this picture where compassion was not given at all.....what was left - rubble.
To understand in details you can refer to this report under Orang Asli Church Demolishment - A Chronological Narrative.

I want the government to remember the case of Datuk Zakaria Md Deros where his illegal palace was built without approval in Klang. That illegal palace was spared from any thought of demolition and was given the chance to pay the fine and thus, the whole issue was kept in abeyance. Why the double standard? Just because this Datuk Zakaria was from UMNO, the ruling political party? Why can't this church be spared?

*Latest update - Somehow, there was a change of event after the demolition of the so-called church at Kampung Jias. Gua Musang district officer Kamaruddin Awang said the state government will build a new structure but on another site. In addition, it will bear the cost of construction. Asked why the church had been demolished in the first place, he pointed out that the community had not obtained approval to put up the structure. Kelantan state secretary Mohammad Aiseri could not be reached for confirmation. State exco member Takiyuddin Hassan, contacted earlier, reserved comment until the matter is brought to his attention. The land office had issued the villagers three 'stop work' orders before the bulldozers moved in, reducing the original structure to rubble. Pastor Moses Soo said the community had embraced Christianity in February and wanted to erect a small church to mark their faith. They consulted the Village Development and Security Committee and the Department of Orang Asli Affairs before constructing the church with the help of volunteers and donations on land made available by the village head.

This is the so-called tolerancy being promoted in Malaysia.......demolish first then negotiate. An election ploy ....... always the case, plays like an angel coming in to help....... people have brains to think lah.....

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