Lack of awareness and low socioeconomic status are among the factors which are hampering efforts to ensure Orang Asli children obtain a good education, according to Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director-general Juli Edo.
Juli said that there is increasing awareness among the community on the importance of education, but not in terms of providing it to their own children to ensure they enjoy a better life in the future.
"Most Orang Asli parents are still struggling to earn a living to support their families and the education aspect of their children is neglected.
“The effort to ensure more Orang Asli children get education should not be left to the government alone, but also other quarters, such as parents, village chiefs and the Orang Asli Village Management Council (MPKKOA)," he told Bernama recently.
Juli said village chiefs and MPKKOA members should be more active in enhancing the community’s awareness on the importance of education.
If possible, he added, they should go from house to house and ensure children in their villages are able to receive a proper education.
Meanwhile, Juli (photo) advised the Orang Asli community to work hard for their own self-development and to reduce their dependence on others, especially the government.
Only through being independent, he said, can they get out of poverty.
Meanwhile, recipient of the Malacca Orang Asli Youth award, Haznizam Jasdi, 24, from Lubuk Bandung Orang Asli Village in Jasin, acknowledged the importance of education to improve the socioeconomic standard of his family.
Hasnizam, who graduated from Universiti Teknologi Mara Seri Iskandar with a diploma in town and regional planning, said with knowledge, one’s life can be better and more systematic.
“I’m now taking over the construction company set up by my rubber tapper father, and am also running a banana plantation, as well as rearing goats and cows,” he added.
The third child of Jasdi Ah Kin, 50, and Rosni Bah Anding, 47, Hasnizam said he had been able to provide 10 employment opportunities for the locals through his businesses.