I spent the whole morning today visiting the ninth Orang Asli Post in Cameron Highlands (Pos Terisu) and the four Orang Asli kampongs in the area.
This marks the end of my pre-by-election visit to all the nine Orang Asli Posts in Cameron Highlands in my three visits to the constituency from December 30, which included being trapped at Kampong Orang Asli Semoi Lama on New Year’s Eve together with MP for Bentong Wong Tack, State Assemblyman for Tanah Rata Chiong Yoke Kong, DAP/Pakatan Harapan Candidate for Cameron Highlands M. Manogaram, cutting from all access to the outside world; crossing the river at Kampong Semoi Lama by driving through it despite its strong currents to reach Orang Asli kampongs in Pos Lenyang and Pos Titom, and I would have ended up in Lipis if my vehicle was swept away by the strong current; as well as my visits to Felda Sungai Koyan and the townships at Bertam Valley, Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Tringkap and Kampong Raja.
It had been quite a hectic but a most informative and educational visits.
The road into the four Orang Asli kampongs in Pos Terisu was most atrocious and demonstrates that sixty years after Merdeka, despite the formation of the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) six decades ago, the Orang Asli are still denied the most basic infrastructure facilities, as many are still deprived of proper roads, electricity, clean water and the most elementary educational, health, medical and economic needs.
I believe that if there is a referendum among the 200,000 Orang Asli in Peninsula Malaysia whether after six decades, JAKOA had achieved its objectives to ensure that the Orang Asli community had progressed as other communities in all fields of human endeavour, whether in education, economic advancement, housing and most important of all, land development, and whether the time has come for JAKOA to be abolished as it had achieved the objectives for which it was formed, the answer among the overwhelming majority of the Orang Asli would be a categorical “No” in both instances.
Why is this case?
The atrocious condition of the road into the four Orang Asli kampongs in Pos Terisu reminds me other “roti canai” roads into Pos Lemoi, Pos Sinderut, Pos Lenjang and Pos Mensun –which could be made in 15 minutes of ordinary travel require an agonising journey on four-wheel drives of up to 90 minutes!
Other proofs of the continued neglect and backwardness of the Orang Asli community could be illustrated by the following:
There are three aspects of the media conference announcement yesterday by the Acting UMNO President, Datuk Mohamad Hasan of former top police officer Ramli Mohd Nor as first UMNO/BN parliamentary candidate for the Cameron Highlands by-election on January 26, viz:
I reiterate my congratulation to Ramli, but the questions uppermost among Malaysians is whether it is worthwhile for Ramli to be associated with a “sinking ship” and whether an Orang Asli could save UMNO?
Will Ramli condemn the monstrous 1MBD corruption and money-laundering scandal and will he denounce the Najib premiership for the national infamy, ignominy and betrayal of being condemned by the world as a global kleptocracy?
Or to put it directly, is the present UMNO leadership using Ramli to get Orang Asli endorsement for the Najib kleptocracy, in particular the 1MDB scandal and the many 1MDB-like scandals in Felda, Felcra, MARA and Tabung Haji?