Researcher wants Orang Asli gazetted as ‘national heritage’

Source: FMT News

Genetic researcher Dr Zafarina Zainuddin says new approaches must be taken to ensure the survival of the Orang Asli community. Pic from FMT News.

SUNGAI PETANI: A genetic researcher says the Semang Orang Asli group should be protected and gazetted as a national heritage as they are at risk of extinction.

According to Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) associate professor Dr Zafarina Zainuddin, the Semang Orang Asli are one of the world’s oldest populations at over 60,000 years old.

Zafarina, who is director of USM’s Biochemical Analysis Centre, said a genetic study using multiple DNA markers had recovered much older DNA from the Orang Asli of Bateq, Kensui and Lanoh tribes as compared with aboriginal groups found in Australia and Irian Jaya.

“Based on the study, it was found that their genetic makeup differs from modern society, which causes them to be less adaptable to today’s environment,” she said. Read more