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NIK NAZMI: PROPOSAL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE COMPENSATION TO MOF FOR INCLUSION IN BUDGET 2024

The proposal to establish a compensation fund for farmers who experience crop damage caused by wildlife will be brought up to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for inclusion in Budget 2024.Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Naz…

The proposal to establish a compensation fund for farmers who experience crop damage caused by wildlife will be brought up to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for inclusion in Budget 2024.

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said guidelines for the policy are ready and the ministry will discuss the matter with MOF in two weeks' time.

He said the ministry has already held discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Ministry of Plantations and Commodities on the policy.

"In addition to compensation for injuries and death, we are looking into indemnifying for damages to crops and property as well, including for the Orang Asli community.

"This is at the government level because I believe only if we can calm the tension (human-wildlife conflict), then we can (achieve) the objective of ensuring our wildlife and forests are preserved,” he said during the keynote speech at the 12th Orang Asli Land Conference, here, today

During a dialogue session with the Orang Asli community who attended the conference, Nik Nazmi was queried as to whether compensation would be paid out for damages to crops cultivated on government reserve land.

He responded that the matter needs to be scrutinised because compensation should be made to the appropriate parties.

"(For example), if the crops are cultivated on reserve land, that is something we need to take note of, as I said the proposal to extend it to crops and properties is new and still being studied,” he said.

As to the release of wildlife into forests near Orang Asli villages, Nik Nazmi said the matter will be discussed with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) as soon as possible.

He said there must be dialogues between the Department of Orang Asli Development and state governments before any release is carried out.

Responding to the Nenggiri Hydroelectric Dam project in Kelantan, which would allegedly affect the Orang Asli community in the area, Nik Nazmi said the government's stance not to build large-scale dams in the future, such as the Kenyir Dam in Terengganu and Pergau Dam in Kelantan still stands.

"This is our policy moving forward but the Nenggiri Dam has been approved… so it is beyond my power to cancel it.

"I know that sometimes hydroelectric dams are 'sold’ as environmentally friendly as they do not have carbon and no emissions. But there was a plan for a dam in Peninsular Malaysia that was not approved yet, where people just fell the trees for timber as soon as they heard about it,” he said.

He said the construction of large-scale dams will cause surrounding villages to be flooded and destroy wildlife habitats, leading to the encroachment of wild animals into human dwellings.

Approximately 100 Orang Asli community representatives from Kelantan, Perak, Pahang, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor gathered at the 12th Orang Asli Land Conference, organised by the non-governmental organisation, Orang Asli Network of Peninsular Malaysia (JKOASM) and human rights group KOMAS Centre.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency