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Thread: Orang Asli: Suhakam calls for new Orang Asli commission

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    Orang Asli: Suhakam calls for new Orang Asli commission

    Safe target that does not affect UMNO's power.

    No need for new commission. Let the Orang Asli/Asal run their affairs.


    Suhakam calls for new Orang Asli commission





    The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has called for the establishment of a new national commission on indigenous people to advise the government on laws and policies.

    Suhakam's national inquiry into the land rights of indigenous peoples was held over almost two years and the report was handed to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Paul Low yesterday.

    The report contains 18 recommendations, which include:


    • Establishing an Indigenous Land Tribunal of mostly retired judges to resolve complaints with regard to land ownership; and


    • Reconciling past wrongs in land removal with the returning of land or proper compensation, and also the establishment of a Native Titles Court to clear the backlog of cases in the civil court relating to indigenous land issues.


    Speaking at a press conference, Low said Institute of Integrity (IIM) chairperson Mohd Tab Salleh would head a government taskforce to look into the 18 recommendations.

    The inquiry found that in Sabah alone there were 51 complaints against Ministry of Rural Development and government-linked companies ignoring Native Customary Rights in approving plantations.

    The inquiry also found cases in Sabah of the police using excessive force to evict people from their land.

    Orang Asli Dept criticised

    The Suhakam report also criticises the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) for failing in its task of protecting and promoting the well-being of the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia.

    "It was widely and repeatedly asserted during the inquiry that Jakoa has not been fulfilling its fiduciary duty. Jakoa has in fact from time to time acted against the interests and advancement of the Orang Asli," the report says.

    In an interview, a senior officerl from Jakoa admits to the inquiry that the principles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), to which Malaysia is a signatory, were not adhered to.

    "The principles were not consciously promoted or internalised within the department (Jakoa) due to the different interpretation of the term 'indigenous'," the officer says.

    One of the recommendations of the inquiry for a comprehensive review to be carried out into whether the role of representing Orang Asli interests on land matters remains with Jakoa or that this be handed over to the community.
    py

  2. #2
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    Orang Asli group sees red over Suhakam report





    The Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Villages Coalition (JKOASM) is up in arms over Suhakam's failure to consult them over its report on native land rights to the federal government.

    JKOASM representative Nurmah Bk Mahat (left) said she was only informed about the completion of the report after hearing about it from a friend.

    "We haven't seen the finalised report and we are in the dark over the 18 recommendations mentioned in the report which will be proposed to the government. This is unfair to us," she said.

    Nurmah was speaking to reporters after she and other JKOASM representatives gatecrashed a ceremony yesterday where Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam handed the report to Paul Low, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

    Five JKOASM representatives were seen standing throughout the ceremony, despite there being a few empty seats at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM) auditorium, the event venue.

    The report, titled National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is prepared by Suhakam after conducting a series of public inquiries last year in response to complaints about native land rights.

    Nurmah also claimed that the report was mere window-dressing aimed at legitimising the government's handling of Orang Asli affairs.

    "I think Suhakam is merely a tool utilised by the government to tell the world that they care for human rights. But the fact is, our voice have never been heard," said Nurmah, who hails from Negri Sembilan.

    Amendment to Aborigines Act on hold

    Meanwhile, Low (right) told a press conference after the ceremony that IIM chairperson Mohd Tab Salleh will head a government task force that will look into the 18 recommendations made by Suhakam in the report.

    "We will include non-governmental organisations representatives as well as relevant interest groups in the task force," he said, adding that there was no time frame given to the task force to carry out its duties.

    Low said the government was trying to adapt a proactive approach to rectify the unsolved land problems faced by the indigenous peoples.

    Asked if the government would amend the Aborigines Act 1954, Low had assured that the amendments would put on hold until the task force completes its duties.

    There have been concerns by indigenous groups that the Putrajaya seeks to amend the law in order to make it easier to acquire their land.

    Hasmy (left) told reporters that the report was the culmination of 18 months of fact-finding and consultation with Orang Asli groups and other interested parties.

    He said that report also included a list of obstacles faced by indigenous peoples, such as problems with land acquisition and compensation.

    On the delay in producing the report, which was supposed to be tabled during the Dewan Rakyat session in July, Hasmy said that the matter had frustrated him.

    "However, I am happy that the government is taking initiative to form a task force over this matter," he added.

    Previously, Suhakam had said that it was unable to table the document to the Dewan Rakyat because the Malay translation was not ready in time.
    py

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