Official figures state that the poverty rate in Malaysia was down to just 0.6 percent as of last year, but poverty remains disproportionately high among the Orang Asli community.
According to Colin Nicholas, the founder and coordinator of the Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC), figures from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2014 report suggest that 34 percent of thenOrang Asli live in poverty.
"This means that one third of the 205,000 Orang Asli are poor," Nicholas said at the End Poverty Campaign event organised by the World Bank and UNDP in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The data, however, was taken between 2010 and 2011, at a time when the prices of commodities, such as rubber and oil palm, were high and when some Orang Asli were even buying cars.
“Now poverty has increased. (So) our estimate is that about 75 to 80 percent of the Orang Asli are poor, not 34 percent."