To be honest, although I've heard about the Orang Asli/Asal in West Malaysia, I don't really 'know' them. Other than the fact that they are expert trackers, their purportedly powerful Shamans and that they live in poverty.
I was reading The Nutgraph today and chanced upon this article. Finally, I can put a face to the Orang Asli/Asal. I am ashamed actually. We've been complaining about our problems but what about them? If any group in Malaysia has been wronged tremendously, I think it's them.
|Activist Tijah Yok Chopil. Pic from www.thenutgraph.com|
It must be bemusing to them watching from the sideline, as Bumi and Non Bumi fight about rights when they(the Orang Asli/Asal) are the earliest inhabitant of West Malaysia.
For those who is not aware of it, Orang Asli/Asal are not categorized as Bumi in our Federal Constitution. If I'm not mistaken, even the Portuguese descendants in Melaka has been granted Bumi special rights. Injustice would be an understatement to describe what has befallen to the "host" of the Peninsula Malaysia.
I heard recently, some politician tabled a motion in parliament to discuss about granting Bumiputra status to them but for whatever reason, it was not supported? I don't see how our politicians/lawmakers can refuse to recognize Orang Asli/Asal as Bumiputra? It's clear cut, as clear as daylight, hands down that if anyone could rightfully call themselves as Son of the Soil, it would be the Orang Asli/Asal!
Shameless politicians! I wonder how would they feel if one day, I moved in to their homes and claim everything they own as mine. I sleep in their beds while I make them sleep in the servants' room.
Would we the Non-Muslim natives of Sabah and Sarawak suffer the same injustice in the future? That's a scary thought. Read Tijah's interview here. I especially like the folklore that she shared.