JHEOA benefited bureaucrats for 50 years but not Orang Asli

I congratulated the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib for getting the nomination for the contest for Umno Deputy President though I remarked that his integrity was questioned by none other than his former boss and former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

(This was what Mahathir said on November 12, 2008 on Mohammad’s successful nomination for the Umno Deputy President contest: “I think there is a lot of hanky panky going on. When you know that someone has a bad history is still getting support, I think that bad history has relevance to his support.”)

This was my preface when seeking clarifications during Muhammad’s winding-up of his Ministry during the 2009 Budget committee stage debate.

Muhammd put up a stoic front and refused to be drawn into responding to Mahathir’s remarks although there was the usual raucous yelling and protests by the UMNO parliamentary jeer-leaders.

I went on to ask Muhammad why the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) had failed in its mandate to develop the Orang Asli community for over half a century. The people who had really benefited from the JHOEA in the past 50 years were the JHOEA bureaucrats rather than the Orang Asli people.

I remarked that the real test of the success of the JHEOA would be when it could be dissolved, marking the success in the upliftment of the Orang Asli community in the country.

Instead, the Orang Asli community continues to be marginalized and left behind by the currents of development.

I told Parliament of my visit to Pos Legap in Lintang, Sungei Siput on Oct. 25 where I met Orang Asli from the surrounding Orang Asli settlements.

There were about 1,200 Orang Asli but only two per cent of the 800 adults were gainfully employed as Risda, which operates the 400 hectares of oil palm holdings in the locality, employed Indonesian and not Orang Asli workers.

Before 2005, there were clinics at Pos Legap, Pos Yom, Pos Kuala Mu, Pos Perwor, Pos Poi and Pos Piah, but they have all been closed down and now a mobile clinic comes once a month to provide basic services to women and children.

There is a national primary school in Pos Legap with over 200 students in seven classes. There is not a single Orang Asli among the eight teachers in the school.

I went to Pos Legap from Jalong and the road into the Orang Asli settlement is so broken down and totally lacked maintenance that it is a big shame and disgrace to Malaysia’s claim as a developed nation.

I asked Muhammad whether he could give personal attention to the complaints of Pos Legap to ensure that the Orang Asli adults could find gainful employment, that at least 50 per cent or four of the teachers in the Pos Legap primary school are Orang Asli and to get the road properly maintained.

I also asked Muhammad what is being done to ensure that there is a strong Orang Asli representation among the JHOEA personnel, and why no Orang Asli has yet been appointed to be Director-General of JHOEA and State Directors.

In his reply, Muhammad said that an Orang Asli is the Deputy Director-General of JHOEA.

On my various requests, Muihammad pointed out that the JHOEA representatives were in Parliament and they were nodding, signifying that they would attend to my suggestions.

I will visit the JHOEA Director and Deputy Director-General to find out why there cannot be a major breakthrough in the upliftment of the Orang Asli community to be on par with the other Malaysian citizens after over half-a-century of effort.


  1. #1 by All For The Road on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 7:46 pm

    All through the decades and years, the Orang Aslis have been highly marginalized and left to fend for themselves in the wild. Despite the achievements and progress that the country undertook, yet our beloved brethren are still lacking far behind in the mainstream of national development.

    Is the JHOEA doing enough to uplift their economic status and their general well-being. Please do something for these pioneers and original owners of the land!

  2. #2 by rubini on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 7:52 pm

    Why are these people being refered to as Orang Asli, instead of being referred to as Bumiputera. These people are the origibal inhabitants of the land yet they are being pushed to extinction. It’s quite remarkable after 50 years, there’s a segment of society which is still being isolated. I was up travelling to Cameroon Highlands when i came across the orang asli. They look no better that the people in Africa in refugee camps. This is what u get after 50 years of BN administration of Unequal & Different treatment. Time To Change I say.

  3. #3 by chengho on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 8:02 pm

    Tun once said the leader not only must be seen clean but must be clean. Just like in the 1st world any slightest hint of problem the leader must withdraw from the leadership this is both for goverment and opposition leader . In the final analysis the Rakyat must win . Do it for the nation.

  4. #4 by One4All4One on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 8:29 pm

    The Orang asli are the true “bumiputeras ” of the land. All others who lay claim to being one could not be genuine ones, if the definition of “bumiputera”, “son of the soil”, is its intended meaning. If they still claim to be “bumiputeras”, perhaps then they could also be considered as orang asli? Or perhaps there is another definition for “bumiputera” which does not apply to the orang asli? Can anyone care to enlighten? It smacks of double standards here.

    It seems like the indigenous people have been sidelined all this while. If they are not, then they must have achieved similar level of progress and development as the rest of the population.

    There are just too many questions than answers pertaining to the position and situation of the indigenous people. If after such a long period, they are still lagging in all aspects of progress and development something is very wrong with the policies, programs and actions being taken.

    And who is accountable and responsible for such a fiasco? The neglect and mismanagement is so glaring that even the most unobservant eyes could notice.

  5. #5 by oraclespeak on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 8:42 pm

    The Minister should explain how 800 acres of Orang Asli Reserve Land in Damansara Perdana was given to a private company when he was the MB of Selangor.

  6. #6 by James on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 9:26 pm

    In a nation that abides to firm principles & moral uprightness all leaders are not only morally clean but seen to be clean in the eyes of the world. This is non-existent in bolehland where wrong-doers past & present continue to thrive & prosper as “elected leaders” & given the mandate to plunder with ease. This obviously renders the 2020 vision to be utterly garbage & a joke.

  7. #7 by hadi on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 9:27 pm

    YB Kit pity that Tan Sri, don’t be so hard on him. When he was MB he tried his very best to assist people but at the same time help himself too, biasa la tu, but then being sabotage by UMNO goons,as usual they will kill each other. Just watch this coming March!!!

  8. #8 by riversandlakes on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 9:29 pm

    Does TDM have any right to question hanky-pankiness? Didn’t Muhammad Taib got re-elected back into Umnoputera fold during TDM years?

  9. #9 by monsterball on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 9:42 pm

    You are speaking about a liar…a cheater.. a rapist?
    The day Dollah made him a Senator…he has lost all his credibilities….as “People’s PM”.
    He went on to make him a Tun and a Minister..showing his true colour..a great liar too.
    So you see…these people do not care..even if you can prove he cheated the Orang Asli.
    If UMNO can still respect and bring a rouge to be a minister….this is the worst kind of leadership by examples…you can find…in any country.
    Truly….they feel no shame…NOTHING!!.
    This is not in a State of denials.
    This is downright arrogant ..rude and simply thing they can do anything.
    Which so call develop country government behave like this?
    Develop my foot!! They are ruling exactly like Cambodia.
    The only differences here is…..majority are against them….including the police and military..if they step out of line.
    They can only but Police heads ..not the whole force.
    And right now…it is dirty considered ..politics…have not reach the stage of extremism with their laws of the jungles.
    You think they don’t want to make our country….one hell..to keep on ruling??
    So cut them off…before they get swell more headed…caring less for your children.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 9:48 pm

    You are talking about an UMNO man…with the worst reputation.
    Ignore he is a Tun or a minister…and judge his past records.
    Trying so hard.to get close to Mahathir…for 22 years…failed.
    But that does not make Mahathir a better man than this rouge.
    Waste of time….to talk of this man…and the day..Dolah brought him back to the cabinet…signified what Dollah is.
    That is part of his downfall today.

  11. #11 by william62 on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 11:39 pm

    Uncle Lim, Please read what Tun M says in his chedet blog today, he writes and speaks like the UTUSAN MELAYU trying to create anger and hatred among the Malays, we all should be alert.

  12. #12 by william62 on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 11:44 pm

    The victory of Najib pave a way for The GREAT MONSTER M to be in power again……..

  13. #13 by cu on Monday, 17 November 2008 - 11:52 pm

    Here an answer to Malaysian question:

    The Malaysian government suspended Parliament and the executive branch governed on its own through the National Operations Council until 1971. The NOC proposed amendments to the Sedition Act that made illegal the questioning of, among others, Article 153. These amendments were passed by Parliament as law when it reconvened in 1971.

  14. #14 by zak_hammaad on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 12:26 am

    William, uncle Lim with all due respect is very proficient in starting a discussion, but does not have the time or competency (I believe) to contribute and see the discussion to a conclusion of some sort.

    I concue with Mahathir that far from being over, race based politics has been exacerbated and remains very relevant in Malaysia. Another simple yet powerful addition by the great Tun.

  15. #15 by adoionline on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 1:03 am

    For years I have advocated the dismantling of the JHEOA whose very existence serves only to infantilize the Orang Asli. Having lived amongst the second largest OA tribe in Penninsular Malaysia for 17 years, I can attest that the relationship between JHEOA officers and the Orang Asli is akin to that between an unloving stepfather and an apathetic stepchild. There is no love lost in that equation. Not once in all these years has any JHEOA officer paid a social visit to any Orang Asli home. They only ever show their faces when they’re required to hold a ceramah – or when scouting around in their Pajeros for loggable concessions from which they can earn handsome commissions. With the JHEOA abolished, a fraction of its RM120+ million annual budget can be allocated to NGOs and community service groups with a proven track record (e.g., the Center for Orang Asli Concerns) so they can engage more staff and help the Orang Asli regain their self-esteem and self-sufficiency.

  16. #16 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 7:05 am

    Mahathir’s, in key note address on Bangsa Malaysia, made following points:-
    · On domestic front : Majority of Umno leaders/members involved with money politics;
    · On International Front, he has “no confidence in (incoming US president Barack) Obama” or Najib! Global economic crisis is “too big for Najib. Too big for Obama,” he said.

    “When probed if the quota system he (Mahathir) introduced which was making money politics endemic in the party, Mahathir denied it. He argued that it was instituted to curb corruption, however the octogenarian acknowledged that the measure has failed”. – Malaysiakini /Andrew Ong | Nov 12, 08

    Yes, when it involves ‘money’, human nature dictates that, given enough time and the right incentives, any endeavor (including the quota system, no matter how well intentioned) will be corrupted……

    On the international front, the global credit bubble that burst – and about which Mahathir said neither Obama nor Najib could do anything about to mitigate its running its course – is exacerbated by the moneyed people (investment/commercial banks, hedge & mutual funds, and ultimately insurance houses) selling/buying, leveraging and hedging credit default swap (CDS) on subprime mortgages so that when the world’s largest insurer AIG collapsed, it brought down the deck of cards with falling dominoes of Goldman Sach & Lehman Brothers. It is corruption & Fraud in the First World!

    However it is same, same here – a place, as Pak Lah said, “1st class infrastructure 3rd world mentality!”

    Not of 1st world mentality, our fellas of course don’t make money by hedging/betting on CDS causing world financial crisis that we too suffer effects from.

    It is too complicated, and there are easier means : we hedge/bet instead on money politics : we pay out a financial outlay (by way of election contribution) to the likeliest horse that wins so that when horse becomes a party leader, he could dish back to us the public contracts in recompense. Or if one is the party leader, one buys delegates votes in order to get into position whereby one could make back in multiples of what one first paid out to them!

    That’s also hedging/betting to make money at the end!

    The similarities between local money politics by local politicians and international leveraging/hedging of credit default swap (CDS) on subprime mortgages by investment bankers/hedge funds/insurance entities are that both are fueled by human greed & desire to make big money, excesses and fraud, a certain taking of opportunity of lack of clear regulations/guidelines and lack of enforcement – and in worse case scenario, a bail out from (ultimately) tax payer’s funds!

    The difference is that our way of making money via politics is “Orang Asli” (abroginal, simpler and more direct) compared to the hedging/betting of international moneyed men : however the dynamics between both are the same!

    Joke & irony of it all, is that it takes a guy like TDM to now lecture the international capitalists on evils of hedging/betting and other politicians here on money politics that, as a phenomenon, was (via privatisation aka piratisation of public assets for private gain) developed to a state of art under his watch/administration….

  17. #17 by chiakchua on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 7:18 am

    Yes, it is most befitting to say that JHEOA is another government organisation to help absorb thousands of ‘unemployable’, unproductive’ Malaysians churn out by the no standard educational institutions (where in itself is another ‘body’ for the same purpose!). They are doing nothing; just minum teh, organise makan when the so called bosses and its entourage come visit a settlement. The OA are left to rot!

    Malaysia has ‘3 HIGH’; high corruption, high wastage, highly arrogant.
    The treatment prescription is ‘3 LOW’; low fossil oil price, low palm oil price, low electronic product demand by US & EU. Only these 3L will bring UMNOputras down to their knees for a complete change!

  18. #18 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 7:47 am

    They are actually robbing the Orang Asli of their rights and status as true BUMIPUTRAS of the country!

  19. #19 by izrafeil on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 9:03 am

    saya juga ada dengar kalau tanah Orang Asli di ambil balik mereka kadangkala hanya dapat pampasan RM500, walhal kalau tanah it kepunyaan bukan Orang Asli, harga pampasan menjangkau higga lebih 10x se-ekar

  20. #20 by Jimm on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 9:35 am

    when corruption and greed taken over the driver seat , umno are leading Malaysian to hell …..
    “do let them know , what they don’t know”

  21. #21 by One4All4One on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 12:03 pm

    If after 50 years the orang asli are no better off than before, or faring much worse than the others in comparison and relative to the progress and development over that period of time, something must be very wrong with the administration of their affairs.

    There are more questions than answers.

    Those responsible for such state of affairs and the consequential fiasco must be dealt with severely for neglect of duty and responsibility.

    Clearly the department for the orang asli must be revamped and helmed by people who are accountable, impartial, responsible, transparent, and inculcated with a high degree of integrity and are incorruptible.

  22. #22 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 1:08 pm

    I totally agreed with you guys’ views and comemts but just like to add this ie our orang aslis will continue to regress if we don’t get rip of UMNOBN.All these talks to help our OA remain as talks only.Even vast majority of their own malay brothers and sisters are badly treated,what can our OA expect from these bullycheatsthief ?.

  23. #23 by OrangRojak on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 2:41 pm

    “Why are these people being refered to as Orang Asli, instead of being referred to as Bumiputera”
    For the same reason Canadians refer to “First Nations”, Americans refer to “Indians” (I hear people from India are called “Asians”?), Australians refer to “Aborigines”, New Zealanders refer to “Maoris”. The descendants of the previous colonisation are always a bit of an embarrassment, when the latest colonisers want to call themselves a nation.

  24. #24 by fatcat on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 3:27 pm

    80% or more of JHEOE budget spent on staff & admin. Check it out.

    While everyone has been focusing on sexual abuse of Penan in Sarawak, I urge YB to raise this issue re school hostels in Peninsular where orang asli children have been sexually abused. Orang Asli have complained to JHEOE but nothing came out of it. Pl see The Star 16 Sept 2000; this was neither picked up or raised by MPs & NGOs.

  25. #25 by bc on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 - 7:26 pm

    “Why are these people being refered to as Orang Asli, instead of being referred to as Bumiputera”

    because they agreed they are one class below the Orang Asli I guess.

    Orang Asli are the first earliest people who live in this land Malaysia long before any races inhabitant here.

  26. #26 by bc on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 12:18 pm

    By the command of the people of Malaysia:

    I am now declared all the races in the West Malaysia are inhibitants except Orang Asli.

    Please tell all the Malaysian about this.

    Thank you. Have a nice days.

  27. #27 by One4All4One on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 - 8:56 pm

    The JHOEA should be dismantled IMMEDIATELY and all resources meant for the programme be channelled to NGOs or any other organisations which had been engaging effectively and doing substantial and meaningful works with regards to the indigenous people’s affairs.

    A detailed audit nationwide by a reputable and impartial third party should be carried out the soonest to establish the extent of irregularity, mismanagement and abuse attributed to JHOEA.

    The comprehensive evaluation should also be extended to and cover relevant ministries and government agencies involved. No stones should be left unturned, underneath which must be tons of worms and dirt.

    Government agencies are convenient fronts for hidden and unproductive activities. Funds are plundered conveniently and easily. In the name of service and charity, unscrupulous and opportunistic government staff could easily get away with their acts of deceit and avarice.

    It is time to get the acts right and correct. Too many people are suffering, and resources plundered and wasted as a result of unchecked and mismanaged offices.

    Time for accountability, transparency and integrity.

You must be logged in to post a comment.