Orang Asli: Marginalised, bullied in their own land

Orang Asli: Marginalised, bullied in their own land

KUALA LUMPUR: Orang Asli activist Tijah Yok Chopil questioned when will the government ever going decide to recognise her community as part of the Malaysian society.


“When will the government recognise us as fellow citizens, politically and honestly? Are we not Malaysians? Where are we from?” Tijah questioned while delivering a teary key note speech at the launch of Suaram’s Human Rights Report 2018 launch, held at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall this morning.

“The Orang Asli issue is already rusty without any solution. I have been an activist for 30 years and campaigned for Pakatan Harapan. The (Perak) Menteri Besar won with 36 Orang Asli votes,” she said in reference to Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s Chenderiang state seat.

She also said that given that the Pakatan government’s lackadaisical attitude it would be difficult to convince the community to support the coalition in the next general election.

She raised the plight of the indigenous community who are continuously being denied their rights to native customary land despite the government change from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Harapan.

One such example is Kampung Tasik Cunex in Gerik, Perak where logging companies are allowed to carry out their activities at the expense of the Orang Asli community’s livelihood.

She further said that the new government coalition were slow at implementing what was necessary.

“She also said comparatively that there was nothing much to gloat about for the natives.

“Under BN, our voices were manipulated and land were taken away.   Now it is even worse, they make insolent statements about us.

“We are at our wits end and are forced to fight.”

She also said that the bumiputra status given to Orang Asli was meaningless to the community.

“What bumiputra status? Our land is taken by the government and given to the towkays.”

She also stressed the importance of land to the community.

“The Orang Asli do not only lose their jobs. Even our identity is gone and our children will die.  The government is only bothered about money and their stomach, not the Orang Asli,” she said.

By K Pragalath

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land rightsorang asliTijah Yok Chopil