KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang promised today the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact will a deputy minister from the Orang Asli community if it wins federal power in the coming general elections.
The federal Opposition party leader also promised to abolish the Orang Asli Welfare Department (Jakoa), claiming it was a request from the Orang Asli themselves and alleged that the department has failed to address much of their issues.
“Jakoa has become the symbol of the failure of the Umno/BN government to uplift the Orang Asli communities to be in the mainstream of development.
“To date, there are very very (sic) few Orang Asli holding senior positions in Jakoa, and indeed in the entire civil service,” the Gelang Patah MP said in a statement.
Instead, Lim said that the community requested for an Orang Asli Endowment Board managed by themselves, to better care for their welfare, and help address their problems.
Citing a parliamentary reply, Lim lamented that of the 998 staffs in Jakoa, only 111 were Orang Asli employees, with most being supporting or lower rank workers, with only one employed in the management position.
Lim added that the trend is also similar in the larger civil service force, whereby of the 1,352 Orang Asli staffs, only 172 are in the management or professional ranks, with most serving in the teaching line, and only one being in the ‘top management’ rank.
On another related matter, the federal lawmaker also called on Putrajaya and the Kelantan state government to set up an inquiry commission to seek a solution to the anti-logging protests of the Temiar Orang Asli members in Gua Musang.
“The Orang Asli Temiar community must not be regarded or treated as criminals or bad people when they are only peacefully protecting their legitimate rights as Malaysian citizens,” he said
He then reminded the governments that the Orang Asli, especially the Temiar tribe, had played a pivotal role in tracking down Communist guerillas during the insurgency that started after World War II and ended with the signing of the Yat Yai Peace Accords in 1989.