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Suhakam reminds Putrajaya of Harapan's promise to Orang Asli

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The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has reminded Pakatan Harapan that its election manifesto had committed to resolving Orang Asli land issues.

This was in reference to the ongoing standoff between loggers, the authorities and the Orang Asli people of Kampung Sungai Papan, near Gerik, Perak.

This had led to Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu's pronouncement that Perak does not recognise ancestral land for any ethnic group, including the Orang Asli.

In a statement today, Suhakam said native customary rights (NCR) land was in fact protected under the land codes of individual states, although these may not explicitly refer to Orang Asli land.

"The recognition of NCR land must be based on traditional occupation over generations preceding the modern conception of land titles and cater for cultural practices such as roaming areas, as articulated in such landmark cases as Adong bin Kuwau & Ors v Kerajaan Negeri Johor & Anor in 1998 and Sagong bin Tasi & Ors v Kerajaan Negeri Selangor in 2002," said Suhakam.

In view of this, Suhakam reminded Harapan that Item 38 of its election manifesto had stated the coalition's government would implement the commission's 2013 report on the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous People.

Among others, the report proposed an independent National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to advise the government on laws and policies related to indigenous peoples.

Suhakam also urged all developments involving NCR land to be stopped pending the implementation of the commission's proposals in the 2013 report.

"Suhakam regrets the continuing state-sanctioned and systematic violations of rights of the Orang Asli involving both public and private entities, which signifies outright hostility to deprive a people of their livelihood and movement," said the commission.

 

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