The Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve in Malaysia is an area that has an important role to play in conserving biodiversity. It is home to rare species such as the Malayan Sun Bear, the Selangor Pygmy Flying Squirrel and the rare Langat Red Fighting Fish. For the local Orang Asli or indigenous people, particularly the Temuan community, this has been their home for more than 150 years.

So why has the Selangor State Government proposed to degazette 930.93 ha (97%) of the forest reserve for a mixed development project?

An entire way of life will be directly impacted by the removal of this peat swamp forest. The Orang Asli Temuan communities rely on this forest both to survive and for its religious and spiritual significance.

On today’s episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Shaq Koyok, a contemporary artist from the Temuan community about his thoughts on this.

Deborah Augustin

Deborah Germaine Augustin is a Malaysian writer and researcher. Previously, she worked as a Parliamentary Assistant for the MP of Kelana Jaya. She is currently working on a cross-genre chapbook about immigration in the United States. She is New Naratif's Member Engagement Coordinator. Reach her at deborah.augustin@newnaratif.com.