Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Group wants explanation on Orang Asli Bill

K Pragalath

July 10, 2013
JKOASM looks set not to take the proposed amendments lying down.
PETALING JAYA: A leading Orang Asli organisation has demanded that the government provide it with a written explanation of the amendments it plans to make to the Aboriginal People’s Act of 1954.
“We want a written explanation of the proposals to amend the Act that would be tabled in Parliament soon even though the Orang Asal Land National Inquiry Report by Suhakam has not been released, published and distributed,” Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM) said in a letter to Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal and Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA) chief Sani Mistam.
Last week FMT reported that the community would lose about 645,000 hectares of their native land if Parliament were to pass an amendment to the 1954 act that would be tabled during the current Dewan Rakyat session. It would allow government agencies to take over and develop native land.
The JKOASM letter demands a response from the government by 5pm today.
It is asking the ministry to hold back on proposed amendments to the Act until the government has obtained free and informed consent from the community and until it has accepted Suhakam’s recommendations.
Last month, media reports quoted Shafie as saying that amendments to the Act were in their final stages of drafting.
“We have gone through this matter in depth and are in the final stages and we have discussed the matter with Suhakam to improve the amendments when we table it in the coming parliament session,” he said.
The Suhakam report currently is not available to the public even though the inquiry that yielded it was completed last year.

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