May 7, 2006
Personal encounters with Orang Asli can reveal more than any article can tell you.
Nenek Sipiu, formerly from Bukit Lanjan, says that it is extremely difficult to live in the homes currently being provided by the government. True, the government does provide shelter and water and a minimal allowance, but the allowance is insufficient to sustain their large families. The men find it difficult to get gainful employment in the city areas, having experience in much more communal, traditional planting jobs. When they cannot pay the water bills in time, water gets cut off immediately. Much more sensible is it for them to relocate to tinier and more obscure areas, set away from mainstream society. There, ground is fertile for plantation, water is freely available from surrounding rivers, odd jobs are easily found at nearby outskirt towns.
More recently, an article confirmed for the first time that Orang Asli do not have customary land rights. They only own the property on top of the land. What use is that? Ridiculous, aint it, that the Orang Asli (heck, the term itself means original people!!), the first natives of our land, do not own the very ground they live upon. There are close to 150,000 Orang Asli occupying 138,862 hectare of land in Peninsular Malaysia. Are we not as bad as the Australians who denied their Aborigines land rights? And the final insult, are they not the real Bumiputera? (princes of the earth) *cough*
See the full article that confirms no Orang Asli land rights here.