IPOH (Oct 10): A group of Orang Asli handed over RM15,000 in alleged bribe money supposedly from a logging company to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday, the Star, Harian Metro and Berita Harian reported.

The group representing 10 out of 30 Orang Asli families from Kampung Lawai, Jalong in Sungai Siput also lodged a report with the commission.

A spokesman for the group, Mat Seri Pandak, said that two members of the village called for a village meeting at the Dewan Adat (village hall) on Oct 3.

He said the two claimed to have gone with the Tok Batin (village head) to meet with the owner of a logging company and a Perak Forestry Department officer at the Sungai Siput District Forestry Office. They said the owner gave them RM40,000 to be distributed among the villagers. Another RM80,000 was promised if a logging project was not halted by the state government. Each family member was given between RM470 and RM50, with adults receiving the most and children receiving the least.

"Many did not want to take the money, but did so because they did not want any problems within the community,” Mat Seri told reporters outside the MACC building here yesterday, the Star reported.

He said the group had also lodged a report with the Simpang Jalong police station on Monday.

The group was accompanied by Kumpulan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) field officer Shazni Rashid.

Kuasa had been helping the villagers halt logging activity that was affecting their livelihood.

Shazni said the logging company, which has been in operation since July, had caused pollution in Sungai Korbu, the main water source for the district.

He said a memorandum on the matter was sent to the Perak menteri besar on July 25.

“Before heading to MACC, we also sent in another letter to the menteri besar’s office, seeking his intervention,” he added.

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