KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — The government has fulfilled about 80 per cent of the needs and requests by the Orang Asli community nationwide, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said efforts were being made to realise the remaining 20 per cent of the needs by the Orang Asli which included infrastructure facilities, education and opportunities to improve their living standard.
“The government is concern with the welfare, socio-economic development, as well as the mental development of the Orang Asli community in the country and will not neglect them.
“All facilities and infrastructure are being developed in all Orang Asli villages and it is expected that by 2023, everything will be completed,” he said.
He said this in his speech when opening the 21st annual general meeting of the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Association (POASAM) in Gombak here today.
At the event, Ismail Sabri expressed his appreciation to POASAM and approved a RM100,000 allocation for the association, which serves as a link between the government and the Orang Asli community.
He expressed regrets and hit out at quarters, especially from the opposition, for claiming that the Orang Asli community in Malaysia was neglected.
“The (opposition) focus on the 20 per cent which the government has yet to fulfill. The many things that the government has done, they did not mention,’ he said.
On the issue of land ownership, Ismail Sabri said the Orang Asli land covered 134,440.99 hectare.
“Of the total, 32,779.37 hectares have been gazetted. Some 19,870.08 hectares have been approved, but awaiting gazette, while the total land size awaiting for gazette is 74,838.86 hectare.
“Land that is occupied with official application covers 5,142.73 hectare and 1,809.95 hectare had been issued with individual titles,” he said.
He said the problem only existed in opposition-led states as land matters came under the state government’s jurisdiction.
The Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA) only did survey work of the land and then handed the matter to the state government, he added. — Bernama