TAPAH, March 17 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced an additional allocation of RM30 million for Orang Asli communities throughout the country for this year.
The Prime Minister said the allocation would be channelled through the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.
“As the Orang Asli communities are very loyal to the government I have no hesitation to approve this allocation.
“You want a bridge or road, build a house … we will provide for it,” he said at a “Meet-the-People” programme at the Orang Asli settlement in Kampung Kuala Woh, near here.
About 10,000 people attending the programme including from Orang Asli settlements from throughout the country.
At the assembly described as a historical gathering of Orang Asli communities, Najib said their welfare also had to be championed for just like the other communties in the country.
He said national development must be comprehensive, inclusive and based on principles of social justice and that their plight should be championed through the Rural and Regional Development Ministry’s strategic plan, apart from giving attention to their aspirations.
“I want to see the Orang Asli communities excel and progress to greater heights,” he said.
Najib also reminded them to give priority to education so that their children had a much brighter future.
“We are seeing a 29 per cent dropout rate among Orang Asli children which is very high. Please do not take your children out of school, even to go for hunting, picking fruits during the fruit season and so on,” he said.
He said Orang Asli culture on these matters must change without changing their original traditions like in art and dances, which were well accepted in the country and received warm welcome from visiting foreign leaders.
The Prime Minister also said that the government was willing to provide scholarships to outstanding Orang Asli chidren to further their studies locally or abroad.
There are about 180,000 Orang Asli nationwide.
Najib also congratulated the Perak government for its effort to gazette 6,708 hectares for housing, agriculture and forestry the Orang Asli in the state.
“I understand such efforts are also being undertaken in other states,” he said.
He said a total of RM66.6 million had also been allocated to build 190 new houses and upgrading 82 houses in Orang Asli settlements this year.
Meanwhile, he said under the Blue Ocean strategy, 479 houses had been built and that this year, 87 new houses were to be built with 52 already completed, by the Malaysian Armed Forces.
Najib added that 6,042 hectares land in Perak had been developed for rubber and oil palm plantations, benefiting 2,536 Orang Asli.
Orang Asli communities have also been assisted with a total of RM15 million for spectacles while 7,152 Orang Asli children received cash aid of RM100 each, two pairs school uniforms and a school bag, donated by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
At the programme, Najib also disbursed Tok Batin (Orang Asli headmen) allowance of RM800 per headman to five headmen, agricultural aid like pesticide and grass cutters for use in the Orang Asli settlemenst of Pos Basil, Kuala Wu and Bawong in Perak.
He also presented contributions totalling RM33,000 to 30 Orang Asli students who excelled in their studies.
Also present were the Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.
Source : Bernama