KEPONG: The government today assured that it is working towards reducing the number of Orang Asli students who are unable to continue their studies at the secondary school level.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy said he had instructed the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) to focus more on the registration of students from primary to secondary school.
“We found out that many Orang Asli students don’t continue their studies at secondary school.
“Although the number of students being left out is reducing, we want to make sure no one is left behind. It is reducing, from 20% in 2015 to 17% in 2019, but we will try to address the issue,” he told reporters after officiating the Orang Asli Students Excellence Awards at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia today.
Waytha, who is minister in charge of national unity and social well-being, also said the government would try to improve the Orang Asli’s access to facilities such as transportation, school uniforms and funds.
He attributed the issue to a lack of motivation among students, urging Jakoa to increase awareness about the importance of education by reaching out to the parents.
On reports that the Kelantan Islamic Affairs and Malay Customs Council aims to convert all Orang Asli in the state to Islam within 30 years, Waytha said his focus for now is improving the health of the community.
“We want to figure out why some of the Orang Asli are suffering from malnutrition. We have to address this issue first.
“Other issues will come later,” he said, adding that the government would conduct regular checks and hold more dialogues with the community.