Their spokesman Seri Isa, 34, said villagers held a meeting on Feb 7 where more than 150 villagers voiced their objections to the plan.
“We even signed a petition asking the project to be stopped,” he said recently.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference arranged by Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang, Seri said the villagers later found out that the village Tok Batin had given his consent to the project.
“We are extremely upset as it is our ancestral land and the tuk batinfailed to get our consent to the move,” he added.
Seri said the contractor cleared the land in January without informing the villagers.
“We had planted cash crops and fruit trees on the land,” he said.
Villagers, he said, want the handicraft centre project to be stopped.
“We are willing to sacrifice our life to safeguard the land from being encroached,” he said.
When contacted tuk batin Ayob Alang said the villagers were free to make any comments.
In January Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok had performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the project called the Pos Raya Orang Asli Cultural Village.
He had said that the project would attract local and foreign tourists, and improve the socio-economic situation of the orang asli community, especially in Perak.
The cultural village was planned to be used as a platform to showcase orang asli culture and crafts.
The 1.4ha village will feature workshops for visitors to show how their handicraft is produced, and a stage to feature their dance performances.
The project will also include a restaurant by the river, offering orang asli and Malaysian delicacies.
The project, estimated to cost up to RM1mil, is a collaboration between YOAP, Cepat Wawasan Group Bhd and MHC Plantations Sdn Bhd.
From: The Star