YOURSAY | ‘Malaysia will be judged by the rest of the world based on how we treat our indigenous peoples.’
EmEmKay: The PAS-led Kelantan government treats the indigenous Orang Asli people like a dying race, taking away their customary lands, encroaching upon and destroying the native land for commercial profits.
Over the millennia, the Orang Asli have developed a close and unique connection with the lands and environments in which they live. They have established distinct systems of knowledge, innovation and practices relating to the uses and management of biological diversity on these lands and environments.
I suggest that, similar to the federal government’s civil suit against the Kelantan state government to seek the legal recognition of the native land rights of the Temiar Orang Asli in Pos Simpor, another civil suit to protect the Bateq tribe in Kuala Koh must be carried out by the federal government to restrain the Kelantan government from taking away their customary lands.
GalaxyM: Sixty-two years after Merdeka, we still can see our fellow Malaysians, the Orang Asli, living without water supply and customary rights to their land despite being the authentic sons of the soil.
The former ruling government has terribly let down all Malaysians, because its policy sucks, and the system sucks too.
The new Pakatan Harapan government should learn about all the weaknesses of the past corrupted, incompetent, racist, and selfish government so that the truly new Malaysia is awaiting everyone.
Anonymous_1543386425: I am very sad and disappointed that such a government could neglect the Orang Asli.
It is a disgrace. Mercy Malaysia goes around the world, and yet we cannot even provide basic healthcare and basic needs to our Orang Asli.
Where is DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and all those who turned up at Cameron Highlands for the by-election earlier this year?
MA: Malaysia will be judged by the rest of the world based on how we treat our indigenous peoples.
Like someone mentioned here, the Orang Asli people have become an endangered species in Malaysia. Shame on all Malaysians.
Anak JB: Indeed, it is a shame the original people of the land have suffered severe neglect under the state and federal governments.
Shame to you all who were bidding for power but not looking after the welfare of the rakyat.
Rembrandt: The state governments really should stop the logging of our rainforests, both legal and illegal. Find other sources of income, like ecotourism. Do not be so blinded by money that you will sell out your fellow human beings.
The federal government should do more for these people now that their plight has come to light. Make sure the allocations get to them and are not siphoned by some unscrupulous politicians.
These people are the true sons of the soil. Take care of them.
Cleo25: Yes, it is a shame. We run around the world giving aid to others when needed - that is commendable. We let our own people die due to neglect - that is a crime.
We aspire to be a developed nation, but our own people still have no clean water and basic healthcare.
It is about policymaking and enforcement. Is there anything budgeted for the Asli communities each year? Politicians come each voting season and get their votes, and then they are forgotten for half a decade until the next voting season.
Vent: If not for the impassioned testimony of Dr Steven Chow and the account by activist Colin Nicholas, how much would we really have known apart from pneumonia being named the dubious killer within the community?
De facto minister in charge of national unity P Waythamoorthy, please take note. If there is ever a marginalised community, it is our own indigenous people, followed closely by some of the pribumi in East Malaysia who still choose to live their own preferred way of life.
I can't stand by with a conscience as a Malaysian and watch this saga of injustice unfold on our first nation's citizenry.
Needless to say, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the bumiputera prince of Kelantan, did not snap out of his slumber in his palace to right the wrongs wrought on the true sons of the soil in his very own lifelong constituency.
Sinan Belawan: Thank you, Martin Vengadesan, for the article.
Corporate social responsibility cannot replace the collective responsibility of the Pakatan Harapan government - the ministries of health and environment, Department of Orang Asli Development, as well as the state government of Kelantan.
The plight of the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia must be raised in Parliament with resolutions.
Demi Rakyat: The PAS government is based on religion and welfare? Obviously not. It is run based on greed and money. That's why this problem and the deaths occur. Sad indeed.
Anon88: Well summarised, Dr Chow. You and activist Nicholas have pointed out the direction the government should take to help the Orang Asli. But will they?
Quo Vadis: Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad should declare a state of emergency immediately. There are two medical doctors at the helm of the government, not for nothing.
Hit the ground. This is happening under your watch.
The husking of the coconut can wait until this unimaginably serious situation has been addressed with utmost urgency, borne of compassion for these suffering fellow human beings.
You are dealing with the most vulnerable and neglected human beings who are Malaysians in every sense of the word.
Give them a modicum of the time, money, and resources the government is spending in bringing to justice kleptocrats who are attired and parading so splendidly.