KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang promised today to set up a conference of Orang Asli representatives to draft a blueprint for the community’s rights if Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the Cameron Highlands by-election.
The Iskandar Puteri MP said he was shocked at the lack of infrastructure, access roads, clean water supplies, electricity as well as education, health and medical care for the Orang Asli after spending a night in Kampung Dayuk in Pos Lenjang with Bentong MP Wong Tack.
“There’s need for institutional reform to break this problem especially the deprivation of their land rights,” Lim said in a statement.
“At the meeting of the Parliamentary Caucus on Institutional Reform and Governance next Tuesday, I will raise the issue of the failure of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to end the poverty, backwardness and neglect of the socio-economic and educational rights and position of the Orang Asli.
“If Pakatan Harapan wins in Cameron Highlands by-election on Saturday, I will convene a Pakatan Harapan conference of Orang Asli representatives in Cameron Highlands to draft a blueprint for Orang Asli to become full citizens of Malaysia,” he added.
Lim also claimed neglect by the previous BN administration towards the Orang Asli, highlighting a report by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) that recommended a review of the role of the Department for Orang Asli Affairs (JAKOA).
“However, the Najib government completely ignored the Suhakam special report on the Indigenous People in Malaysia and not a single one of Suhakam’s eighteen recommendations had been implemented in the past six years,” he concluded.
Early voting for the by-election began yesterday, which will see a four-cornered contest for the Pahang parliamentary seat. Polling day is on Saturday.
It involves Ramli Mohd Noor from BN, M. Manogaran from Pakatan Harapan and independent candidates Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib, a senior lecturer at Institut Aminuddin Baki Genting Highland.
The voting process is being witnessed by the candidates’ agents, together with election observers from appointed organisations and non-governmental organisations.