"We open our ears to whatever grouses the public, in particular the Orang Asli, have. If anyone says we are depriving them, we are neglecting them, that's not true."
The government plans to give each Orang Asli household two to six acres of land to cultivate under the policy. The Orang Asli however say the policy is unfair as it will deprive them of their rights to a further 200,000 acres of customary land. (Source: Cops halt Orang Asli advance on Putrajaya, Malaysiakini, 17 Mar 2010)
"If they are unhappy, they can submit their views on it and the department concerned will scrutinise it. If there is any proposition which is reasonable, we will do what is necessary."
"...on February 13, 1996 the Sepang Land Administrator gave written notices to the plaintiffs to vacate the land within 14 days failing which enforcement action would be taken. The plaintiffs did not comply for obvious reasons. They were not happy with the amount of compensation..." "On March 21, 1996, the plaintiffs were asked by the Sepang police to report at the Dengkil police station to collect their compensation cheques [for their fruits trees, crops and structures]. Only the third and seventh plaintiffs collected the cheques.
"On March 22 and 27, 1996 the plaintiffs were evicted from the land by a police operation with support from the FRU in the presence of the officials from the Sepang District Office, the second and third defendants and of the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA). The fruit trees and the crops on the land were destroyed, the houses, the Balai Raya and the Balai Adat of the Temuan community thereat were demolished."
"Here you have a case where the very authority — the State — that, enjoined by the law to protect aborigines, turned upon them and permitted them to be treated in a most shoddy, cruel and oppressive manner. It is my earnest hope that an episode such as this will never be repeated."
"The land belongs to the government but as Orang Asli residents, we were allowed to work on the empty lots. So we planted oil palm trees two years ago. Now when the trees are growing, [the government] came without any notice and began clearing the area until we told them to stop on Oct 23."
The Orang Asli claimed that the JHEOA district office were slow to provide assistance and did not respond to their complaints. Another resident told the press that many had spent money and even taken loans to plant the trees, which would now not be able to yield any profit. (Source: Orang Asli protest clearing of land, New Straits Times, 6 Nov 2009)
"The Orang Asli community is unique compared to other ethnic groups in Malaysia. Unlike other communities, Orang Asli culture, identity and nationhood is inextricably linked to their customary lands. Land is central to the identity of an Orang Asli person, providing physical, cultural, economic and spiritual nourishment."
"It is thus puzzling that the proposed land policy disregards Orang Asli customary lands. Whilst it is true that economic independence is vital to Orang Asli well-being, it should not be toyed with at the expense of their identity."
"Regrettably, many in [the Orang Asli] community are among the poorest in Malaysia, a manifestation of their marginalisation and disenfranchisement from mainstream society. More than 50% of the Orang Asli, for example, live below the poverty line in this day and age when poverty levels in Malaysia are well below 3%."
"Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture."
"Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation, and, where possible, with the option of return."
| "Mereka datang bukan untuk protes tetapi untuk berjalan-jalan melawat Putrajaya dan kita juga bagi mereka makan-makan." |
"Mereka juga datang untuk cuti sekolah hendak ambil gambar di Putrajaya sebab mereka cuma tengok Putrajaya dalam televisyen."
courtesy of Nut Graph