The deputy prime minister slams the formation of a ‘new Orang Asli political party’.
SUBANG JAYA: Deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claims that NGOs have set up a new Orang Asli political party with “ulterior motives”.
Zahid, who is also the rural and regional development minister, said he believed the new party will have a negative effect on the Orang Asli community’s support for the government.
“They (the NGOs) came in with various goals and ambitions, mainly to bring development, but I think there are some ulterior motives. For example, there’s now an Orang Asli party,” he said at a gathering of Orang Asli village chiefs here last night.
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“I hope all of you here will teach those organisations that funded the party a lesson. We should put a stop to this so that the political party cannot divide the Orang Asli community.”
Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Nor made a similar claim earlier this month. The country’s sole Orang Asli MP, who is also an Umno member, said he had learned that the Registrar of Societies had approved the formation of such a political party.
Ramli said the newly-formed party would look for members from the estimated 217,000 Orang Asli folk in the country, adding that any division within the community would lead to the decline of its political power.
Government to strengthen Act 134
Zahid also dispelled rumours the government is planning to abolish the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954 (Act 134). He said the ministry is “strengthening the importance of this Act” for the Orang Asli.
“Discussion sessions and workshops were held with the aim of acquiring input and suggestions from all the stakeholders, including the village chiefs, for improvement of the Act,” he said.
Zahid also said he was confident that Ramli, who was tasked to chair the government’s advisory committee on Orang Asli-related matters, would be able to strengthen the rights of the community.
In February, Zahid had said the Act would be amended by improving the legal aspects involving land ownership as well as the registration of marriages and births of Orang Asli children.