Apa akan jadi kepada orang asli Sg. Ruil?
By SIMON KHOO
The Star | 19 August 2011
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: All the 1,015 Semai villagers affected by the Aug 7 killer landslide in Kampung Sungai Ruil here do not want to be relocated.
Village headman Kadir Ahsan said the heads of the 124 households in the village had agreed to stay put.
“We have been staying here for the past five generations. No one should force us to leave our ancestral land, and we are prepared to take the risks.
“We shall live and die here,” he said.
The landslide, which came after two hours of downpour, killed seven villagers, including a family of three, and seriously injured two.
Kadir said 666 villagers were still seeking shelter at SJK (C) Brinchang’s hall.
He said the others were temporarily staying with friends and relatives because the hall was crowded and uncomfortable.
“We were told that we need to stay away from our village for at least six months.
“It is too long. Some villagers have already returned to their homes despite the evacuation order still in force,” he added.
Kadir said they would defend “at all costs” the last plot of their ancestral land, which had already shrunk from 120ha during his great-grandparents time to just 26ha now.
Ramlah Junus, 47, said she would not leave the village despite reports that said the area was not safe.
“I think it is an attempt to evict us so that certain quarters can take over our land to carry out other projects.
“A housing development project is already taking place adjacent to our village,” said the mother of six children aged between 13 and 24.
Another fellow Semai, Ngah Jefri, 34, echoed her sentiments, adding that the settlement was located on prime land.
He said instead of relocating them, the authorities should restructure the village or build retention walls to prevent future landslides.
Tanah Rata assemblyman Ho Yip Kap urged the authorities to expedite their investigations into the cause of the landslide so the villagers could return home and continue with their lives.
“I have visited the site and observed that more than half of the remaining houses are on low hill slopes with no danger of possible landslides,” he said.