Activists: US report on Orang Asli land rights too shallow

Source: FMT News

Siti Kasim says Washington’s annual human rights report is an outdated view of Orang Asli land rights issue, adding that the report bases its argument on a simplistic interpretation of the statute law. Pic from FMT News.

Siti Kasim says Washington’s annual human rights report is an outdated view of Orang Asli land rights issue, adding that the report bases its argument on a simplistic interpretation of the statute law. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Washington’s annual human rights report does not adequately address issues surrounding Orang Asli rights in the country, several Orang Asli activists have said.

Activist-cum-lawyer Siti Kasim pointed out that the US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 was too shallow as it merely interpreted the Orang Asli land rights issue in a “simplistic manner”.

“It’s partially correct if one were to solely focus on written law. But it’s an outdated view on Orang Asli land rights, based on a simplistic interpretation of the statute law,” she told FMT when contacted. Read more

Rights of the natives — Tricia Yeoh

Source: The Sun Daily

A group of Orang Asli block a road in Kampung Sungai Peralong, Gua Musang to protest against timber logging activities in the area on Oct 29, 2016. — Bernama

A group of Orang Asli block a road in Kampung Sungai Peralong, Gua Musang to protest against timber logging activities in the area on Oct 29, 2016. — Bernama

A VIDEO went viral at the end of November on social media, portraying the Temiar Orang Asli community singing Negaraku as the blockade they had set up to protest logging at a forest reserve in Gua Musang in September was destroyed. Several orang asli villagers were also detained as a result of the incident.

This particular action was ordered by the Kelantan State Forestry Department, while a representative of the Kelantan state government stated that all logging activities in Kelantan since 1978 had complied with the law and urged all parties to comply with set regulations.

The orang asli in Malaysia despite being natives and therefore technically part of the bumiputra community have, unfortunately, not quite benefited from the country’s affirmative action policies. A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2014 report revealed that almost 34% of orang asli households live in poverty, this despite official country figures that say 0.6% of the population live below the national poverty line. Why the disenfranchised community? Has the government not paid enough attention to their woes? Read more

Battleground in Gua Musang jungle

Source: The Star Online

GUA MUSANG: A logging area in the jungle near here has become a battleground between the orang asli community and loggers.

The orang asli claim the tract of land between Pos Tohoi and Pos Simpor, some two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Gua Musang town, is their ancestral land. The loggers claim they have been given a concession to cut down the trees there.

On Wednesday, there was a violent confrontation between the orang asli and the loggers, with three orang asli being “arrested” by men claiming to be policemen.

They were released soon after as there were no police officers in uniform or police vehicles nearby.

While the loggers, armed with chainsaws and one with a shotgun, managed to breach a barricade and dismantle it, the orang asli have since regrouped and replaced the barricade. And no end seems to be in sight for the conflict.

Read more

FMT report on Orang Asli kids: Suhakam to probe

Source: FMT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has initiated an investigation into a news portal report titled “Education of Orang Asli Kids Being Neglected” to verify the facts of the case.

The news article published yesterday by Free Malaysia Today contained an allegation of abuse by a teacher against an Orang Asli student who was forced to eat glass as punishment for unintentionally breaking a school window pane.

In a statement today, Suhakam said the allegation was raised at a workshop organised by Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) in Pos Piah, Perak, on Aug 28, during which a representative of the commission was present.

“The finding of the commission’s investigation will be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities so that appropriate action would be taken against any person who is found guilty,” it said.

Education of Orang Asli kids being neglected

Source: FMT News

Orang Asli activist Colin Nicholas recalls horrific punishment for Orang Asli children by schools and teachers. Pic taken from FMT News.

Orang Asli activist Colin Nicholas recalls horrific punishment for Orang Asli children by schools and teachers. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Education for Orang Asli children is being neglected with unmotivated teachers being sent to teach them, Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) Coordinator Colin Nicholas said.

On top of this, he told FMT that teachers stationed in rural areas were often under pressure to “show good results”.

“We have come across many cases where schools are under immense pressure to maintain the UPSR pass rate.

“They will do anything to get the weaker students out so that these children won’t sit for exams and bring down the overall results.”

Yesterday, FMT reported that teachers in a rural town in Kelantan were allegedly falsifying medical reports of Orang Asli children from a school, labelling them as intellectually disabled, to avoid being penalised for falling grades in the school.

Colin recalled his experiences with COAC, revealing there are many instances far worse than falsified medical reports.

For one, he noted the vast physical abuse Orang Asli students underwent which went unreported or unaddressed.

“Some of the punishments are terrible. It is something you will not find in normal schools.” Read more

An education in captivity – Edith Mirante

Boarding school for Jahai Orang Asli children, mainland Malaysia. Photo: Edith Mirante

Edith Mirante reports on a Malaysian boarding school escape with tragic consequence. 

A group of children from an indigenous minority group escape an abusive boarding school to make their way home to their families, hiding from search parties along the way. The latest example of this all-too-familiar narrative has a more heartbreaking ending than the 1931 journey by a trio of Australian Aboriginal girls portrayed in the movie Rabbit Proof Fence.

Six girls and one boy, aged seven to 11, from the Temiar indigenous ethnic group, went on the run from a government boarding school in Gua Musang, Malaysia on 23 August 2015. The children evaded searchers until 9 October when Norieen Yaacob, 10 and Mirsudiar Aluj, 11 were located alive. Although emaciated and weak, the girls still tried to walk away from the police who found them on a riverbank.

As the Center for Orang Asli Concerns, an indigenous peoples advocacy group in Malaysia described it, the children had been “not missing, but hiding.” The other five had died from drowning or starvation.

Taking children away from their parents to be indoctrinated in schools that deny them their culture, language and spiritual beliefs is considered a crime against humanity and a practice of decades past. Governments in Australia, Canada and the United States have apologised for it (although not properly compensated victims). Read more

The runaway children Malaysia failed to save

Source: BBC News

Pic by Malaysian Insider / Najjua Zulkefli, taken from BBC News website

Earlier this year seven children from an indigenous Malaysian tribe ran away from school and got lost in the jungle. Seven weeks later, only two survivors were found. The shocking case raises uncomfortable questions about Malaysia’s treatment of this minority.

A group of children are lying on the floor of a bamboo hut drawing with crayons and felt tips. It is mid-morning and they should be in lessons but the pupils from the villages in this area don’t go to school any more.

At first the nine and 10-year-olds are shy but then they start telling me about one of the teachers in the residential school they used to go to.

“He punished us even if we did nothing wrong,” says one of them. “He made us stand outside in the sun for ages with our desks on our heads and our knees bent, like this.”

As she demonstrates the posture, the others burst into peals of laughter. But one girl in a striped T-shirt is silent and focuses on her picture.

She is 10-year-old Norieen Yaakob. Last summer she and six classmates could no longer bear the harsh discipline at the school, so they fled into the rainforest.

These children are Orang Asli which in Malay means “original people” and they’re the earliest known inhabitants of the Malaysian peninsula. Read more