What do you know about Orang Asal issues?

Source: The Star Online

Indigenous children clad in their traditional attires. Photos: Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia, drawn from The Star Online.

When the elders in Nelson Raymond’s village heard of plans for a water catchment dam to be built on Sungai Papar in Sabah, many broke down in tears.

The dam would have caused the river’s banks to flood, submerging around 20 villages in the Ulu Papar area, including Raymond’s, and displacing thousands of villagers.

“The elders took it especially hard,” said Raymond, a 28-year-old Dusun media practitioner. “This place has been our home for generations. It’s where we were born and raised. Everything about it, from the forest to the rivers and waterfalls, are all part of our lives.”

But despite the magnitude of the problem, not many people – even those potentially affected – had any inkling of what was to happen. This was back in 2009, when villages like Raymond’s had no phone lines, let alone Internet access. Read more

Suhakam to conduct field investigation

Source: Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will conduct a field investigation on the reported demolition of indigenous communities’ houses in Kg Bobotong, Tongod, by the Sabah Forestry Department.

The commission’s investigating officer of the case, Heflin Dino, said the investigation will be conducted based on Act 597 of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 4(1) that clearly states its duty “to inquire into complaints regarding infringements of human rights referred to in Section 12” of the Act.

Pending the field investigation, Heflin appealed to all parties to remain calm.

“I do hope that the public would not fuel hate sentiments toward parties until we complete the investigation,” he told Daily Express, Monday.

More than 200 villagers of the village in Mukim Entilibon claimed to be living in fear after 16 out of 60 houses were demolished by the department on March 16.

They claimed to have been living in the village for 38 years. Read more

Indigenous peoples most marginalised, says Jaos

Source: Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Indigenous peoples in the country are among the most marginalised groups today due to the many gaps between the Federal Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the International Labour Organisation’s Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ILO C169).

Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (Joas) Secretariat Director, Jannie Lasimbang, said one of the most apparent gaps is the absence of any provision that safeguards the culture, traditional knowledge and language of indigenous people in the Constitution.

“In terms of land and natural resources, because we had so many experiences with regards to this issue, there have been a lot of improvement over the years. A lot more issues have been covered in the Constitution, but in terms of implementation, it is still not as beautiful as its theory,” she said. Read more