‘Casting aside the Sakai is casting aside Malays’


KUALA LUMPUR: To cast the Orang Sakai aside is to do the same to the Malays, says the spiritual leader of the Orang Asli community in Kampung Orang Asli Pulau Kempas.

Dewi Malam, who is one of the 4,000 Orang Asli native to Mukim Tanjong Dua Belas in Kuala Langat, is leading a protest against the rezoning of the Paya Indah Wetlands by the Selangor Government.

““The Orang Asli are Sakai and Malay, true Malays,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

“If Malaysians cannot understand that the Sakai are Orang Asli, then let them know that the Orang Sakai are Malays.

“If these lands are all gone, the Malays themselves will lose out. If people say that only the Orang Asli are cast aside, fine. But they have cast aside their own Malay people.”

Dewi Malam, who was accompanied today by representatives of Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), was commenting on his community’s failed efforts to regain the 17,900-acre land. The efforts, which started in 2011, ended this year when the Court of Appeals rejected a suit brought by Dewi Malam and his brother, Jafrin Malam, saying they did not have the locus standi.

The defendants in the case were the Selangor Government, the Kuala Langat Land and District Office, Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd, the Selangor Land and Mines Director and several local authorities.

The court did not accept Dewi Malam’s proof that he was an original inhabitant of the land.

“The judge said that the Orang Asli cannot make any claim with regard to the status of the Sakai, that Act 134, the Orang Asli Act, cannot be used to make such claims,” he said.

“I am extremely unsatisfied with this. Look at the fingerprint of Pak Pelangi, Batin Dua. Here it is written that he is the representative of the Sakai. Seven generations have lived here. My great-great-grandfather Mohamad, my great-grandfather Pak Pelangi, my grandfather Gercang, my father Malam, myself, my son, and my grandchild. All these count for seven generations.

According to Dewi Malam, the rezoning had also affected the Paya Indah and Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve areas, which cover Pulau Kempas, Bukit Cheeding, Bukit Kecil, Bukit Perah, Busut Baru, Tanjung Rabok and Bukit Kamandol.

SAMM leader Badrul Hisham Shaharin told reporters heavy machinery had begun quarrying the area.

“They have brought in the machines, extracting rock and red earth in the area,” he said. “They have also given the forest reserve land to Gamuda, rezoning it into a mixed-development area.”

He said Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali must explain the matter.