DAP supports appointment of Orang Asli as Deputy Minister and dissolution of JAKOA and replacement by Lembaga Wakaf Orang Asli headed by an Orang Asli to spearhead Orang Asli upliftment into mainstream of development

I have received a “Permintaan Orang Asli Daripada Pakatan Harapan (Apabila Menjadi Kerajaan)” from the Orang Asli communities at Pos Menson, Cameron Highlands on the occasion of my visit together with other DAP leaders including DAP MP for Ipoh Timor, Thomas Su, three Pahang State Assembymen Leong Ngah Ngah (Tanah Rata), Chow Yu Hui (Bilut) and Lee Chin Chen (Ketari), DAP Wanita Assistant Secretary Young Syefura Othman (Rara), Assistant National Organising Secretary Vincent Wu and DAP Pahang Deputy Chairman M. Manogaran.

“Permintaan Kedua” reads:

“Orang Asli meminta kerajaan untuk memansuhkan Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA) ini kerana banyak masaalah/perkara yang di rujuk kepada JAKOA tidak diselesaikan. Kami juga berpendapat bahawa JAKOA tidak ada kepentingan Orang Asli dalam urusan mereka. Kami mahu kerajaan menubuhkan satu Lembaga Wakaf Orang Asli (Orang Asli Endowment Board) yang dianggotai oleh perwakilan Orang Asli untuk menjaga hak-hak Orang Asli, dan juga menyelesaikan isu-is Orang Asli.”

Let me declare my full support for the demand for the abolition of JAKOA and its replacement by a body, headed by an Orang Ali, to spearhead Orang Asli upliftment to be in the mainstream of Malaysian development.

JAKOA has become the symbol of the failure of the UMNO/BN government to uplift the Orang Asli communities to be in the mainstream of development.

To date, there are very very few Orang Asli holding senior positions in JAKOA, and indeed in the entire civil service.

According to a recent parliamentary reply, out of a total 998 staffs in JAKOA, only 111 are Orang Aslis. TOnly One is in the “Management and Professional” rank, the rest are all supporting/lower rank staffs.

This is most disgraceful and shows the utter failure of JAKOA to represent a vibrant Orang Asli community.

After six decades of the country’s nationhood, at least three quarters of the JOKOA staff should be Orang Aslis, and not just a puny 11% as at present, and an Orang Asli should have been appointed as head of JOKOA in the past two decades and not just one in the management and professional rank of JAKOA

In the entire civil service, there are 1,352 Orang Asli, but only 172 of them are in the Management/Professional rank (mostly in the teaching service). Only One is in the Top Management position.

This another disgrace for the country after six decades of talking about the upliftment and development of the Orang Aslis.

This is why DAP will go one step further, and we will propose to the Pakatan Harapan, if we can capture Putrajaya in the 14th General Election, to appoint an Orang Asli as Deputy Minister who, with the Orang Asli head of the new board which will replace JAKOA, be jointly responsible to spearhead the mainstream development of the Orang Asli communities.

Yesterday I was in Gua Musang and 230 Orang Asli applied to become DAP members in a new DAP branch in Kampong Parit, Kuala Betis, Gua Musang and visited the blockade erected by the Orang Asli Temiar people in the area to protect their livelihood.

I call on the Federal Government and the Kelantan State Government to set up a joint Commission of Inquiry to ensure that there is just and equitable solution to the anti-logging grievances of the Orang Asli Temiars in Gua Musang.

The Orang Asli Temiar community must not be regarded or treated as criminals or bad people when they are only peacefully protecting their legitimate rights as Malaysian citizens.

Both the Federal and State Government should not forget that the Orang Asli, in particular the Temiars, played pivotal role in the war against communist insurgents.

Hundreds of Temiars were recruited by the British and later the Malayan government to form the Senoi Praaq force, which is a special unit in the Malaysian police tasked with tracking down Communists guerillas in the dense forest along Thai-Malaysian border.

Today, it is still common to meet with Senoi Praaq veterans among the elders in Temiar villages in Kelantan, as they are in their 60s and 70s.

What in a nutshell is the reason why there must be a change of government in Putrajaya in the next 14th General Election?

Has Malaysia fulfilled our Merdeka Dream 1957 and Malaysia Dream 1963 to be a shining example to the world of an united, successful, harmonious, democratic, progressive and prosperous plural society of diverse races, religions, languages and cultures?

We have not, as we are wracked by growing extremism, intolerance and bigotry resulting in the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s history and the continued marginalization of the Orang Asli community, with more and more Malaysians, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak, questioning the violations of the bedrock principles of the Malaysian constitution and nation-building.

What is worse, we have become a global kleptocracy – and this is the first time in the 14 general elections in 60 years of the nation’s history.

A Pakatran Harapan Government in Putrajaya will prove in five years that it is better than UMNO/BN government for all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Orang Asli or the voters can re-elect a UMNO/BN government in 15th General Election whether in 2022 or 2023.

(Speech at a dialogue with Orang Asli at Kampong Ranau, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 2 pm)

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