PETALING JAYA: Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor has taken the government to task over its failure in addressing Orang Asli welfare issues surrounding their education needs, basic facilities at villages and public transport infrastructure.
In a statement this evening, he said the minister in charge, P Waytha Moorthy, and the director of the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) Juli Edo had failed to realise the government’s aspirations to develop the Orang Asli community.
“The Strategic Development Plan for the Orang Asli Community that has been promoted is just a ‘daydream’ or ‘candy for crying children’,” he said.
He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had not started even a single development or maintenance project for basic infrastructure for water, electricity, roads or low-cost homes in Orang Asli villages in the Cameron Highlands constituency, despite being in power for almost two years.
“In fact, several projects that were approved when BN formed the government have since been cancelled.
“Similar issues were also raised in every Orang Asli village I visited in other states.”
Ramli added that he had received complaints from natives, not only from villages in Cameron Highlands, but also in Pahang, Perak, Kelantan, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, during his working visits.
”Across the board, they complained how their social, education and basic infrastructure needs, such as clean water, electricity, roads and low-cost homes, were still being ignored.”
Ramli found that only parents or guardians with an income of less than RM2,000 a month were eligible for financial assistance provided by Jakoa.
He said he received complaints from the manager of the school bus operator servicing the Pos Terisu Orang Asli village in Cameron Highlands that he had not received any payment for six months.
This, he said, had resulted in the termination of the service. Orang Asli children are unable to attend school as a result.
Ramli said he had first raised the issue last August but found that this was still happening in a few districts.
He also accused the Jakoa officer for Cameron Highlands of pushing the matter to the parent and teacher associations of the affected schools by suggesting that these associations help transport Orang Asli kids to school.
“I was very shocked by this suggestion because it is very clear that Jakoa is washing its hands off its responsibility towards the Orang Asli community,” he said.
Ramli stressed that the PH government must follow through on all aspects of Orang Asli development and allocate enough money for the purpose.