Malaysian federal and state governments defrauded the indigenous people (Orang Asli)
Bar Council says government defrauded Orang Asli
KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council yesterday, through its Orang Asli Rights and Human Rights Committee slammed the Sarawak state government for leaving the Penans and Kenyah high and dry when they were resettled to make way for the building of the Murum Dam. indigenous
During the committee’s study trip to the Metalun and Tegulang Resettlement Areas recently, the post relocation conditions of the Penans and Kenyah left much to be desired.
The study group found that the native communities were living in hazardous, treacherous conditions and in almost complete isolation from the rest of the world.
Committee member Andrew Choo said, “The resettlement project has failed.” He described the relocated communities as being “defrauded,” “cheated” and “short changed” for “which the Sarawak state government has to be held responsible.”
He said this in regards to the numerous promises made to the Penans and Kenyah that were left unfulfilled by the authorities.
Choo cited the initial food and provision subsidy of RM600 per household per month that has since dwindled to 5kg of chicken wings, flour, and cooking oil only.
Despite being relocated to make way for a dam, Choo said the irony was that the people of Metalun and Tegulang themselves enjoyed only 6 – 12 hours electricity per day.
Choo added, “As they were relocated in order to facilitate the construction of the dam, the state government and Sarawak Energy Berhad has the moral and legal obligation to ensure that their welfare is taken care of.”
The observation on the ground was also found to be in stark contrast to the pledges made by the Malaysian government to the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2013.
The Bar Council’s vice president, Steven Thiru said the state government defaulted in upholding the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that was made during Malaysia’s 2013 Universal Periodic Review.
Thiru also said that indigenous people in Peninsula Malaysia were suffering the same fate as those in Sarawak because the federal government was quick to dismiss litigation of Orang Asli land disputes based on technical and procedural grounds.
“The state and federal governments are not dealing with solving the problem, but merely making the litigation go away for them, and problems remain for the Orang Asli,” Thiru said.
The Bar Council also criticised the lack of effective legislative or executive action to recognise the Orang Asli’s rights to land and resources despite the courts legally recognising it.
The shame of it all as the land 'belongs' to these people - they are more BUMI than the bumiputras (Malays).They were here before anyone's else so why treat them with such indignity and cheat them of what was promised them.
They in the first do not want to leave their NCR lands but were forced to.
The local NGOs and international community should voice out LOUDLY to the whole world what is happening to these people.