Most Read
Most Commented
Protecting Orang Asli means recognising their lands, NGO tells state governments
Published:  Jul 27, 2019 3:58 PM
Updated: 8:25 AM

State governments must recognise the customary land of the Orang Asli if they are sincere about taking care of the community's interest, said the Sustainable Development Network Malaysia.

The NGO's chairperson Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah noted that the Orang Asli community was facing increasing action from those who have been granted rights by state governments to exploit their lands.

"Any state governments that say there is no Orang Asli customary land are ignorant and disrespects historical facts and the rights of the Orang Asli community as outlined in the Orang Asli Act 1954 (Act 134)," he said in a press statement.

He added that Malaysians cannot continue to allow inappropriate treatment of the Orang Asli community to continue.

"As a civilised society, we cannot allow oppression by state governments without question while the federal government only issues media statements when inappropriate enforcement are taken against peaceful action by the Orang Asli community to defend their legitimate right," he said.

Orang Asli communities in Perak and Kelantan have faced repeated arrests as they try and blockade loggers from encroaching onto their customary land.

Some state governments have refused to acknowledge their customary lands, which include lands for roaming on which they rely for sustenance.

Muhammad Sha'ani said since the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) presented the National Inquiry Into The Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2013, the situation of the Orang Asli has yet to improve.

Muhammad Sha'ani, who was also a former Suhakam commissioner, noted that the report outlined the recognition of Orang Asli customary land is essential in safeguarding their interest.

"The recognition of Orang Asli customary land must be done in accordance with the views and desires of the Orang Asli community, court decisions and international law," he said.

View Comments