Be patient, Perkasa tells Orang Asli

By Patrick Lee. Free Malaysia Today

The Orang Asli must wait for the government to provide their much-needed infrastructure, according to right-wing Malay NGO Perkasa.

“They (the Orang Asli) need to wait. (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) is taking steps to transform Malaysia,” said Perkasa Youth chief Arman Azhar Abu Hanifah.

Asked how long the Orang Asli must wait before seeing results, Arman said it would take time. “Our country is big, and it is still young. It is only 53 years old,” he said.

“It will take time to put roads there (for the Orang Asli),” he said. “Talking and implementation are two very different things. Infrastructure needs a lot of planning.”

FMT had previously reported that the Orang Asli Villages Network in Peninsular Malaysia (JKOASM) had condemned the recent Budget 2011 announcement.

JKOASM had alleged that tok batins (village headmen) did not regularly receive their RM450 monthly payments from the government. Instead, they claimed to have received once every three months.

JKOASM also said that hundreds of villages were still without access to basic facilities, such as electricity, water and roads.

Nevertheless, Arman was adamant that the government was not ignoring the Orang Asli, saying that the indigenous people had been enjoying many privileges before the announcement of Budget 2011.

While he did not attack the government for its alleged mistreatment of the Orang Asli, Arman said that the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) needed to look into new ways to serve the indigenous people.

“They need to go to the ground, and add more facilities such as road access and electricity. You need to give them better things as well, such as education,” he said.

Talk to the government

Arman also said that it was very easy for certain NGOs to slam the government. “They think it is very easy, even if they don’t have any ideas,” he said.

“If any countries have complaints about (how) the Orang Asli (are being treated), then they should come down to Malaysia and work with the government.”

Arman also said that the indigenous population needed to unite before bringing the issues to the attention of the government.

“The Orang Asli should come and sit with the government. They should have a roundtable meeting with the higher ranking (officers) and with the prime minister and ask him what they need,” he added, expressing his faith in Najib’s capabilities.

Arman also told FMT that the federal government had been providing certain Iban villages in the interior of Sarawak with solar power panels for their electricity.