2,000 Orang Asli Grads Want Recognition
NST (07 MARCH 2010) By R. Sittamparam
KUALA LUMPUR : The more than 2,000 Orang Asli graduates in the country want the government to recognise them as their community's voice and agents of development.
This was the resounding call at the country's first national Orang Asli convention organised by the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Graduates Association (PSOA) here yesterday. PSOA President Rashid Ka' said 70 per cent of the management and professional staff of the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) should comprise Orang Asli.
"The time has come for stronger Orang Asli participation in JHEOA. Top posts in the department can now be filled by Orang Asli to ensure our rights are protected, in line with the 1Malaysia concept," he said at the Convention on Land and Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Act. He also expressed the community's wish for Orang Asli representatives in Parliament, cabinet and senate. Rashid said it was crucial that all traditional Orang Asli land in the country be gazetted.
He said: "Orang Asli traditional land in the peninsular, of which only about 15 per cent has been gazetted as Orang Asli reserve so far, is invaluable to the community as it concerns our aboriginal rights."It is our hope that the proposed amendment to the Orang Asli Act 1954 to be tabled in Parliament soon, will take this into consideration."
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Rashid Ka’ would be the association's representative in the Orang Asli Rights Advisory Council within his ministry. Shafie said while the government had implemented many development programmes for the Orang Asli, he admitted that some had failed.
"It is, therefore, important that this time around we get full cooperation from all concerned parties, including PSOA, to upgrade the community which is still lagging behind the rest of the population. "In this respect, the government has now approved a RM150 million infrastructure development allocation to improve facilities at Orang Asli villages."
Shafie said efforts were also underway to look into the gazetting of traditional Orang Asli land. He said as land owners, Orang Asli still lagged behind the rest of the population, accounting for only 0.03 per cent individual ownership of the country's land resource.
Shafie added that in upgrading the educational level of the Orang Asli, the ministry had instructed Mara to ensure that at least five Orang Asli students be given scholarships for overseas education annually.
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Terakhir dikemaskini (Selasa, 22 Jun 2010 09:35)