Are Orang Asli full citizens of Malaysia?

The question that has been nagging me since my several visits to Orang Asli Posts and Kampongs in Cameron Highlands in the past three weeks is whether after sixty years, Orang Asli are full citizens of Malaysia?

They are the first inhabitants of Malaysia but are they full citizens of this country sixty years after Merdeka?

This seems to be such a stupid question for every Malaysian is a full citizen of Malaysia.

But the question that demanded answer is how can anyone claim to be a full citizen of Malaysia when he or she is denied of the most basic infrastructures whether proper access road, clean water, electricity; deprived of the most elementary needs whether education, health and medical care, housing and economic opportunities; and most important of all, denied of their traditional land rights.

It took me two hours to travel the 30km “roti canai” road to Pos Lenjang – when it could be travelled in 20 to 30 minutes. It was an unforgettable and most agonizing journey on probably the longest and worst “roti canai” road not only in Cameron Highlands but the whole country, a road which served some 20 Orang Asli kampongs.

Why hasn’t the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is the campaigner-in-chief of the Barisan Nasional in the by-election, visited Pos Lenjang and see for himself whether the Orang Asli in the area could claim to be full citizens of Malaysia with such atrocious infrastructures and basic services for the Orang Asli?

If the Orang Asli are full citizens of Malaysia, then there is no need for a Special Department for the Development of Orang Asli (JAKOA) to bring them into the national mainstream of development.

But after sixty years, is it acceptable for the conditions of the Orang Asli to be so pathetic and atrocious? In my visits to the various Orang Asli kampongs, I asked whether JAKOA had achieved its mission and objectives, and the general view is that it had not achieved even fifty percent of its objectives in sixty years.

Yes, I congratulate the Barisan Nasional candidate, Ramli Mohd Nor for having risen to the high level of an ASP in the police force, but it is more a testimony of failure and not success to make Orang Asli full citizens of Malaysia?

Why after sixty years, there is only one ASP. Why is there not a single Commissioner of Police or even Deputy Commissioner of Police among the Orang Asli?

What about the Orang Asli in the higher echelons of the other government departments?

After sixty years, JAKOA itself has only got an Orang Asli to be Director-General for eight months, when the position should have been held by an Orang Asli for the last few decades.

At present, less than 22 per cent of the JAKOA staff are Orang Asli. This is not progress, and failure of mission of JAKOA.

In 2013, SUHAKAM released a report entitled “Report of the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples” and made recommendations, one of which was to conduct an “independent and comprehensive review” of the role of JAKOA to address its various weaknesses.

None of the Suhakam’s eighteen recommendations to improve the plight of Orang Asli was Implemented or considered.

If the Orang Ali are, after sixty years, full citizens of Malaysia, not only the Barisan Nasional government would give serious consideration to Suhakam’s eighteen recommendations, it would ensure that the plight of the Orang Asli would be developed to at par with other communities so that there is no more need for a JAKOA.

(Speech by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Orang Asli Kampong Cerewes, Pos Titom, Jelai on Tuesday 22nd January 2019 at 12 noon)

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 24 January 2019 - 4:58 am

    Ramli did not show up for the only debate? He said he saw no point? What is he going to do in Parliament his main job? Why is he even running? To help BN, Najib or orang Asli and Felda settlers?

    What is even more surprising is the media has not made a bigger deal about this??? P

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