A new mindset is necessary if we are to learn from the 60-year failure to eradicate the poverty, backwardness and marginalisation of the Orang Asli and develop a new policy to break the back of the problem
I have a confession to make – I never expected the condition of the Orang Asli in the country in so many Orang Asli kampongs that I have visited in the past two weeks to be so dire, primitive and atrocious that all Malaysians must feel both shocked and ashamed that we have Malaysians in 2019 living in conditions denied of the most basic of fundamental human rights – no proper roads, no basic infrastructure facilities like clean water and electricity; poor education and medical services, lack of proper housing and job opportunities; and most important of all, the long-standing denial of the land rights of the Orang Asli.
A new mindset is necessary if we are to learn from the 60-year failure to eradicate the poverty, backwardness and marginalisation of the Orang Asli if we are to develop a new policy to break the back of the problem.
I want to ask the former Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabry Yaakob how many Orang Asli kampongs he had visited in his three years as Minister in charge of Orang Asli affairs until the last general elections in May 2018 and whether he had visited the worst of the Orang Asli kampongs in the country – and whether he dared to name them.
I ask this question because no Minister had ever visited the worst Orang Asli kampongs that I had visited in the past two weeks.
Last night, when I was in Kampong Orang Asli Sungai Ubi, Tanah Rata, I asked whether the Barisan Nasional candidate who is the first Orang Asli candidate to be put up by Barisan Nasional in its history, dared to admit that the report card for the 60-year-old Barisan Nasional programme to uplift the 200,000 Orang Asli in Malaysia is a big “F”?
I just cannot imagine how a caring Government could leave the Orang Asli community in such a shocking plight, not for one, five or ten years but for over 60 years.
Are we to wait for another 60 years to find that the plight of the Orang Asli community have further deteriorated?
If Ramli dared not speak truth to power even now, would he dare to speak the truth, in particular about the plight of the Orang Asli in the country, when he is elected as MP?
The appointment of Ramli as the first Orang Asli parliamentary candidate of BN and the appointment of an Orang Asli as the Director-General of the Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA) in the last eight months are themselves the best proofs of the failure of BN policies in over six decades to uplift the economic condition of the Orang Aslis.
This is because after 60 years, there should be more Orang Asli occupying various high posts in the police and the civil service, and not just one Orang Asli to have served the highest post of a state director of commercial crime, and several Orang Asli should have helmed the post of JAKOA Director-General for the past few decades.
I had welcomed Raml’s statement that if he wins the by-election, it will not be based on bribery; and invited him to make the Cameron Highlands by-election the model for all general elections and by-elections in future with the candidates submitting a daily report of the election expenditures for each of the polling districts.
I am still waiting for Ramli’s response, including his reply to my suggestion that he publicly condemn the monstrous 1MDB scandal and Najib’s kleptocratic premiership.