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 ANCAPS Memo to Malaysia's Government

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ANCAPS Memo to Malaysia's Government Vide
PostSubject: ANCAPS Memo to Malaysia's Government   ANCAPS Memo to Malaysia's Government Icon_minitimeWed Jan 16, 2008 3:22 am

Go fuck yourselves and stop violating individual rights!
Clear enough?


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Christian indigenous villagers have sued Malaysia's sole Islamic opposition-ruled state government for demolishing their church, which they claimed was sitting on ancestral land, a lawyer and activists said Tuesday.

Authorities in northeast Kelantan state tore down the church in June last year, shortly after it was built by members of the Temiar tribe in their remote jungle village, said lawyer N. Subramaniyan.

The village headman and three others have challenged the state government — controlled by the opposition Pan Islamic Party — in court, seeking a declaration that the land belonged to them and the demolishment was unlawful, he told The Associated Press.

The case was to be heard Tuesday but the high court postponed trial until May after ordering both sides to submit their arguments in writing, Subramaniyan added.

The Temiar community is among some 18 ethnic tribes collectively known as the Orang Asli, which means "Original People" in the Malay language, who make up less than 1% of the 27 million people in this mostly ethnic Malay Muslim nation.

Azlan Abdul Halim, the counsel representing the Kelantan government, said the church was illegally built on state land and villagers ignored notices to stop construction.

"By law, any building has to get approval," he told AP. "It doesn't matter if the building is a church or a house ... this has nothing to do with religion."

Malaysia faces many cases pertaining to tribal land rights. While Malaysian laws do not recognize or protect indigenous customs and rights to land ownership, the tribespeople argue they have a right over the land, which they have lived on for generations.

The Orang Asli are among Malaysia's poorest citizens. Most practice forms of animism, and many still live in or near the rain forest, where they mainly hunt and grow crops.

Pastor Moses Soo, whose Christian group helped the Temiar villagers build the church, accused the Kelantan government of discriminating against Christianity.

"Before no one visited them at all but the moment we start to build a church, the religious officers came in," he said.

Local authorities built a community hall to replace the church but villagers "don't want a community hall. They want a church," he said.

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