FIRST, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES WANT THEIR NCR LAND

Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 23 April 2019

At the 2019 National Orang Asli Convention at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, the Prime Minister recommended enhancing education and ecotourism as a way of contributing to the economic development of the Orang Asli community. He said the ecotourism sector will create job opportunities and encourage the youth in the community to become entrepreneurs including making handicraft items as well as manufacturing forest-based products.

Education is definitely all-important and so is the motivation to make creative handicrafts. What was missing from the PM’s speech was the central problem all indigenous peoples face in West and East Malaysia, namely, the loss of their Native Customary Right land to logging and (oil palm and now, durian) plantation interests as well as state governments’ so-called “development”.

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