Orang Asli in Perak and the 6th Bushido Code

by Augustine Anthony

I joked candidly that M. Kula, the Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament must have been an Orang Asli in his past life because of his concern and support for my work with the indigenous people of this country. He revved his 4WD on a precariously winding road in the secondary forest that was once ravished and ravaged by the greed of men and narrowly missed the ravine that would have taken all those in the vehicle into the river below.

“You need not be an Orang Asli headman in your past life”, M. Kula was quick with a reply without even looking at me. An instantaneous and poignant response expected of a man who confronts an assortment of rotting issues that emanates unwelcome stench in our midst.

I knew what he was trying to tell me.

The journey beyond that was a humourless exchange of thoughts about the promises and betrayal of Orang Asli for the last 52 years. Though living with physical independence but sadly chained and shackled with a mind of perpetual dependence.

There are no grand tales of the Orang Asli to tell, only the marginalization of this minority group of people. Walk the path of misery and the truth is scattered in all the lonely and desolate journeys into a forgotten world only known to the Orang Asli.

Our destination was a remote village, south of Perak. The inhabitants’ complaints were predictable. Their surrounding ancestral land and all their sources of livelihood are slowly but surely being removed from them, leaving behind a life of agony and uncertainty that promises skinned mother earth and its dust to bite.

A day after my visit to the remote village with M.Kula, I was forced by necessity and urgent appeal to be in another remote Orang Asli village, this time in Ulu Kampar.

One year after promises of road repairs and construction of a safer bridge that would make crossing the river leading to the Orang Asli village safe for children and women, all that remains now is a badly damaged bridge and a road leading to the village that invites danger and possibly death for any of its unlucky users.

The Orang Asli villagers’ complaint was that the loggers had moved in without a care and they now live in danger of land slides and dangerous earth movements which will put unnecessary fear during their foraging activities in the forests.

Why in a nutshell of our visit on the 1st Sunday of June 2009 and a day after? The answer lies 12 months before.

When the Pakatan Rakyat government was formed in 2008, one of the first things on the agenda was the formation of the Orang Asli Taskforce on Land Rights comprising, the majority of its members being the Orang Asli themselves.

Primarily the function and role of this taskforce is to move as quickly as possible to first identify the Orang Asli ancestral land and take all necessary steps to recognize, respect and protect these lands as Orang Asli ancestral land. Any forms of dealings, be it developments or otherwise, in these ancestral land would necessitate a free, prior and informed consent from the inhabitants of the particular parcel of land according to established international standards namely the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People adopted by Malaysia in June 2006.

Ngeh Koo Ham, the then senior executive councillor and chairman of the taskforce went on to inform all the Orang Asli members of the taskforce that they are always welcome and free to use the conference halls at the State Secretariat Building anytime they needed to do so. This warm gesture led to meetings being conducted by the Orang Asli in one of the many conference halls from time to time.

It was a good feeling, watching the Orang Asli conducting meetings after meetings with many proposals and counter proposals on how best their ancestral land ought to be protected and preserved.

It was however a great feeling to silently appreciate an undeniable fact that the Pakatan Rakyat government under Ir. Nizar Jamaluddin was prepared to open up more decision making space for the Orang Asli thus promoting independence of thoughts and actions and giving hope for the Orang Asli to be partners in managing and sharing the riches of the state.

It was a near fairy tale beginning, one thought that would perpetuate into a “happily ever after story” but all that has come to an end by greed and betrayal of trust by some who are obsessed with their personal well being and interest and in the process corrupting their very thoughts and promises of service to the nation.

They conveniently forgot the urgent and apparent needs of those who are voiceless and dispossessed. The plight of the Orang Asli is only one of them.

It is most disheartening to note that since the beginning of the constitutional crisis in Perak, the members of Taskforce established by the Pakatan Rakyat government have not been invited to meet and discuss all the problems plaguing the Orang Asli.

And the irony of it all is the fact that, the Selangor government had formed its taskforce and it may be modelled after the Perak Taskforce.

The non-functioning of the Perak Taskforce had created a questionable confidence in the state government in its effective administration which ought to ensure the needed promotion of the well being of all, especially the minority, marginalized and dispossessed groups that require urgent attention.

The fundamental principle of good governance that requires a duty to consult as its integral and important component is ignored and this has created serious questions as to the present government’s ability to administer the state for the good of all.

The Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511, 2004 SCC 73 explains elaborately and sufficiently when the need for a duty to consult is triggered and why the need for such consultation process ought to happen in the first place.

The government’s duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples and accommodate their interests is grounded in the principle of the honour of the Crown, which must be understood generously. While the asserted but unproven Aboriginal rights and title are insufficiently specific for the honour of the Crown to mandate that the Crown act as a fiduciary, the Crown, acting honourably, cannot cavalierly run roughshod over Aboriginal interests where claims affecting these interests are being seriously pursued in the process of treaty negotiation and proof. The duty to consult and accommodate is part of a process of fair dealing and reconciliation that begins with the assertion of sovereignty and continues beyond formal claims resolution. The foundation of the duty in the Crown’s honour and the goal of reconciliation suggest that the duty arises when the Crown has knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the Aboriginal right or title and contemplates conduct that might adversely affect it. Consultation and accommodation before final claims resolution preserve the Aboriginal interest and are an essential corollary to the honourable process of reconciliation that s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, demands.

And why honour?

Perhaps it will not be necessary for all our politicians to embark on the understanding of honour by slurping the succulent pages of the Bushido Code namely the 6th Bushido Code:-

“The sense of honour, a vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth, characterized the samurai. He was born and bred to value the duties and privileges of his profession. Fear of disgrace hung like a sword over the head of every samurai……..” Nitobe Inazo

A Code of Honour?

Well, that will be too much to ask for from many of our local politicians consumed by pettiness and greed.

  1. #1 by Joshua on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 8:33 am

    The policies of the nation had been lopsided for more than 50 years with SHIT [selfish hideous illegal trap] and that is bad for all. This is totally unsustainable and ridiculously very shortsightedness.

    So states such as Sabah is also neglected by those illegal leaders who like to call them SMART [Sure Make All Rotten Through] under BN and UMNO the illegitimate leaders and parties within.

  2. #2 by lee wee tak_ on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 9:22 am

    just another proof that for real people agenda to surface and implemented, a change at the federal level is necessary

    hope all the Orang Aslis are registered voters, why not do a voters’ registration drive with them?

    by the way, are they considered bumiputeras?

  3. #3 by TomThumb on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 10:06 am

    so where does dap fit in all this??

  4. #4 by frankyapp on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 10:27 am

    The only thing that fits in is we are all “pandatang “.Malays,chinese,Indians are either settlers or occupiers ,So TomThumb,are you a decentant from a settler or occupier ?.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 11:28 am

    He is an idiot…Frankyapp.
    TomDumb not used to hearing caring and sharing… like a true Malaysian.
    He is a Malaysian in name but true…..or truth…are greek words to him.
    How on earth can be get united with such idiots?

  6. #6 by TomThumb on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 11:28 am

    what has the japanese code of bushido got to do with all this??

  7. #7 by sotong on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 1:53 pm

    This is our ” leaders ” greatest failure…..gross neglect of Orang Asli.

  8. #8 by ekin on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 2:45 pm


    “# TomThumb Says:
    Today at 10: 06.21 (4 hours ago)

    so where does dap fit in all this??” – WHAT ABOUT YOU? YOU’RE NOT EVEN FIT AT ALL.

    “# TomThumb Says:
    Today at 11: 28.17 (3 hours ago)

    what has the japanese code of bushido got to do with all this??” – WHO SPOKE ABOUT THE CODE? YOU SISSY BALL-LESS GEEK! DUMB! HAHA

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 3:52 pm

    PKR should bring the Orang Asli in Perak to speak for them in Sarawk and Sabah….

  10. #10 by monsterball on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 6:15 pm

    TomThumb is getting dummer and dummer.
    His thoughts and brains gone hay wild.
    He will bring out something..nobody talk about and questioned us.
    I pity those near him everyday.

  11. #11 by ekin on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 6:45 pm


  12. #12 by cemerlang on Thursday, 11 June 2009 - 11:29 pm

    Orang Aslis are hardly thought of but if anyone is to question the first people on the land of Malaysia or Malaya, then they should be the actual real putras di atas bumi. Why should their position be stolen and their identity made almost unknown ? Should they embrace any one religion just to obtain a recognition ?

  13. #13 by TomThumb on Friday, 12 June 2009 - 3:03 am

    if dap leaders are honest about wanting to see change come to these orang asli settlements then they should spend weekends doing voluntary work helping to build amenities. put money where your mouth is or shut up.

  14. #14 by frankyapp on Friday, 12 June 2009 - 9:31 am

    Umno/Bn leaders accused the Israelli,the jewish people of occupying the Palestinian land and need to return the occupied land to the rightful ower before Malaysia can recognise the jewish state of Israel.We forget we are occupier too but can remember of others. I think our government top leaders are hypocrites.The Orang Asli claimed we not just occupied their rightful land but worst we stole it from them .We have neglected them so much at one stage they almost gone extinct .What happen should the Israelli’s government leaders accused us of also stealing the Orang Asli’s land ? I think it’s time the Umno/Bn government recognises the Jewish state of Israel.

  15. #15 by dr. krishnan on Friday, 12 June 2009 - 11:00 am

    hey come on rehabilitating the orang asli is not easy task you know… you try first then you know.

    visit my site at http://gk666.blogspot.com

  16. #16 by Loh on Friday, 12 June 2009 - 5:39 pm

    Sorry, off-topic
    From chedet.co.cc

    Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
    on June 12, 2009 3:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

    ///22. Jika sijil sudah begitu mudah diperolehi ia tidak akan dihargai lagi, tidak akan berguna untuk dapat kerja dan tak berguna untuk meneruskan pelajaran lebih tinggi juga.

    23. Kalau sudah tak berguna, apa perlunya adakan sekolah dan sijil.///– TDM

    The above two paragraphs make good sense. Did TDM not know it when he was in power? If he did why had he allow the rote to persist in the education system in the country? Was it inconvenient to change a policy which served his political interest? What a lazy opportunist?

    It is an open secret that passing marks in universities were different for bumi and non-bumi students after NEP. That same principle applies too for other levels of examinations. That was the reason why when in the past, students only indicated their candidate number in Cambridge Overseas School Certificate, and HSC examinations, examinations conducted by Malaysian Exam syndicate required students to write down their name. That facilitated the scaling of marks and grades, based on race. The system helped to facilitate the special brand of meritocracy practised only by the Malaysian Public Service Department in awarding scholarships, and the education ministry in university enrolment. The cheating process emerged because the government intended to consider race the point of departure in its philosophy of government. That practice ensured the security of vote banks for politicians to remain in power, so that they were able to take politics as a lifelong career and a map to treasure hunt.

    The sufferings that people were led to took longer to materialise. There were 60,000 unemployable graduates who had spent at least some time to work on their certificates, and had finally realised that their efforts were wasted. These graduates could have put in the same amount of efforts as kids in other countries who had been awarded the certificates befitting their capability. Had there been proper teachers and lecturers who were competent to guide them through their learning process, beginning in schools, and going up the learning ladder without their artificial grades, they too would be employable befitting their certifications. If they had not the aptitude for academic courses, they should have been advised on the proper career path, rather than to have to serve UMNO interest in showing that Malays have been unfairly accepted for higher learning, as a demonstration that the divide and rule policy works towards Malays’ advantage.

    Nobody could stop UMNO’s political arrogance. Only the Malays who had to bear the externalities of UMNO policies could stop it. PAS was their hope but Hadi Awang may close the door to it. Non-Malays could only wait patiently to the enlightenment of the majority of the Malays to end their collateral sufferings.

  17. #17 by ekin on Friday, 12 June 2009 - 5:39 pm


    “# TomThumb Says:
    Today at 03: 03.27 (14 hours ago)

    if dap leaders are honest about wanting to see change come to these orang asli settlements then they should spend weekends doing voluntary work helping to build amenities. put money where your mouth is or shut up.” – YOU SHOULD SHUT UP! YOUR UMNO BN HAD RIP THE RIGHTS OF THESE ORANG ASLI AND NOW YOU’RE ASKING OTHER PEOPLE TO CLEAR THIS MESS? DREAM ON DUMBBELL! IF YOU ARE SO SINCERE IN HELPING THEM YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR UMNO BN TO GIVE BACK WHAT THEY DESERVED! SHUT UP THONG THONG SISSY DUMB @SS! HA HA HA

  18. #18 by distantmalay on Saturday, 13 June 2009 - 10:35 am

    “hey come on rehabilitating the orang asli is not easy task you know… you try first then you know.” (dr. krishnan)

    just accord them some respect in malaysian society, and protect their ancestral lands will do. The rest they will slowly pick up by themselves as they see a need.

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