KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Lawyer Siti Kasim was neither an environmentalist nor sympathetic to the plight of the Orang Asli, a PAS leader claimed today.
PAS central working committee member Mohamad Sanusi Md Nor alleged that her expressed support for both causes was motivated by her desire to attack his party over its push for Shariah law in the state.
The chairman of the party’s agriculture and environment bureau added that if Siti were sincere about preventing logging that was harming the lives of the indigenous Temiar tribe, she and others should lobby for legal changes to prohibit logging entirely.
“The issue in Kelantan is driven by a political party, who conspires with opponents of Islamic law like Siti Kasim, who is against the Kelantan state government; she isn’t an environmentalist and far from being a lover of indigenous people,” he said in a statement published on Harakahdaily, the party’s mouthpiece.
Mohamad Sanusi also claimed that the concerns over logging in the state were unfounded, calling these an “evil ploy” when noting that similar activities took place on larger scales in Sarawak, Sabah and Pahang.
He then challenged opponents of logging in the state to explain how Kelantan is to generate revenue if it is not allowed to approve of logging, or how the 127,757 workers in the industry are to earn a living.
“So far, there are two suggestions from environmentalists (and indigenous people) who oppose logging activities: change government or be clever to find money since (PAS) wants to be the government, doesn’t (PAS) know how to find other sources,” he said.
It was reported yesterday that 47 Orang Asli activists have been remanded for investigations into their involvement in a blockade at a Gua Musang forest reserve in Kelantan.
The Orang Asli group, aged between 18 and 40, were arrested after authorities destroyed their blockade at Simpang Petir yesterday that was set up since September 26 by over 200 Orang Asli to prevent timber from being taken out of the Balah Forest Reserve at Gua Musang.
Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob has since denied yesterday that the Kelantan state government was involved in the arrest of Orang Asli at a two-month-old blockade in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
Earlier this month, Ahmad reportedly told the protesters to stop the blockade or risk legal action.
Siti has been at the forefront of publicising the arrests and demolition of the blockade.
She is also an outspoken opponent of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposal to raise the punishment limits available to the Shariah courts.