Monday, September 15, 2008

Police stop march for Orang Asli rights

KUALA LUMPUR, Sat - Today marks the first anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.
What happened today, ironically, left us with very little wonder why the orang asal in this country have to continue to fight for their rights to exist. In conjunction with the anniversary, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (“JAOS”) has organised exhibitions and workshops from 10 to 14 September 2008 at The Annexe, Central Market to increase awareness on the plight of the indigenous peoples in this country.

The height of the 4-day event is the ‘walk’ from Central Market to the Palace to present a memorandum on indigenous peoples’ rights to the King.

The organisers and representatives from various orang asal communities gathered at The Annexe, Central Market as early as 9.30 a.m. in anticipation of the walk. Everyone was in high spirits as participants put on their traditional costumes and carried musical instruments.

As they were getting ready to begin the walk, the participants sang the common orang asal song. Some were seen carrying placards with words such as ‘Jangan Ceroboh Kawasan Orang Asal’, ‘Kami Bukan “Dan Lain-Lain”’, and ‘Hentikan Eksploitasi Hak Kami’.

The map to the Palace was also distributed to everyone. After moving barely a few hundred metres from Central Market, the participants were stopped by the police. This appeared confusing as yesterday, the police confirmed with the organisers that they have approved the police permit for them to ‘walk’ to the Palace. Despite intense negotiations, the organisers failed to rationalise with the police to allow the walk to go on.

With deep disappointment, the organiser had to inform the participants to return to The Annexe. Some participants showed mild resistance, but being the civic minded lot they are, they obliged the police’s order and walked peacefully back to The Annexe. Along the way, at least one or two representatives of the orang asal were seen giving short interviews to the media protesting the police’s action to stop the ‘walk’.

I end this report with the lyrics sung by the orang asal as they attempted to march to the Palace:

Orang Asal … oh-oh … Orang Asal
Mengapa nangis, matamu bengkak
Aduh Papa, aduhlah mama
Ak Orang Asal, semakin ditindas

Orang Asal … oh-oh … Orang Asal
Mengapa nangis, matamu bengkak
Aduh aru, aduhlah aki
Adat kami hamper hilang

Orang Asal … oh-oh … Orang Asal
Jangan nangis, jangan putus asa
Ayuh semua, wahai Orang Asal
Mari berjuang, tahan adat kita
(Source : The Malaysian Bar)

1 comment:

Mey said...

to think about it..they are the true "putras" of this land and how dare we ignore them

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