PETALING JAYA: Five groups representing the indigenous communities in Peninsular Malaysia have accused the government of sidelining the Orang Asli in the Cabinet composition announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday.
Persatuan Orang Asli Perak, Persatuan Orang Asli Kelantan, Persatuan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Orang Perak, Persatuan Orang Asli Batang Padang and Kelab Bola Sepak Bersatu (Orang Asli) said Perikatan Nasional (PN) had failed to appoint the sole Orang Asli MP, Ramli Mohd Nor, to the Cabinet.
“After 63 years of independence, this was the first time an indigenous person was made an MP.
“Therefore, the PN government should not deny that Rosli should have been considered for appointment to the Cabinet,” they said in a joint statement today.
Ramli was elected as Cameron Highlands MP in January last year.
The groups said only Ramli understands the troubles faced by the indigenous people, adding that he could assist the federal government in resolving issues related to their socio-economic development and the like.
They also said the government is obliged to ensure the rights and welfare of the indigenous people under Article 8 (5)(c) of the constitution.
“If history requires 63 years for an Orang Asli to be made an elected representative, will the government wait another 63 years to appoint one as a member of the federal Cabinet?” they asked.