Call on Cabinet to
appoint Orang Aslis to the posts of Director-General and State Directors of
Orang Asli Affairs Department by the end of the Eighth Malaysia Plan next
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): When I met Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak at Putrajaya yesterday, one of the issues I raised with him was my concern about the socio-economic plight of the Orang Aslis in the country after almost half-a-century of independent nationhood.
Two recent events had again highlighted the grave marginalization of Orang Aslis from the mainstream of national development – the “mysterious” death of five orang asli children in Cameron Highlands and the allegation that more than a dozen Orang Asli pupils in Sekolah Rendah Kroh were barred from sitting their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) four years ago.
It is most shocking that 47 years after Merdeka with the country in the Eighth Malaysia Plan, some 80 per cent of Orang Asli live below the official poverty line and remain the most unhealthy community, relentlessly losing their ancestral land through resettlement, logging, mining, dam construction, golf course development, plantation schemes, relocation and assimilation into mainstream society.
What is worse, the Orang Asli community continues to be seriously unrepresented in major decision-making processes affecting their future.
I told Najib that the time has come for an Orang Asli to be appointed director-general of the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA), but he told me that the JHEOA does not come under his Ministry, as it is the direct responsibility of the Minister for Rural Affairs, Datuk Abdul Aziz bin Shamsuddin. Najib agreed however that such an appointment is long-overdue.
DAP calls on the Cabinet to appoint Orang Aslis to the posts of Director-General and State Directors of Orang Asli Affairs Department by the end of the Eighth Malaysia Plan next year.
DAP will highlight the plight of Orang Aslis in Parliament, and DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Kepong, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, has been given the additional portfolio responsibility to be the DAP parliamentary spokesman on Orang Asli affairs.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor