Friday, September 16, 2011


In 1961 when Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj first mooted the idea of forming a wider federation of Malaysia made up of the federated states of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak agreed to join on the understanding that they would be embraced as EQUAL partners in the new federation.

Slide taken from the presentation on Sarawak by young activist, Evelyne Tina Tawan.

Instead, in 1963, the two territories were absorbed into the new federation as the 12th and 13th states of Malaysia. Brunei did not join, and Singapore later left the federation rather acrimonously, in 1965. Now 48 years down the road, despite their vast natural resources, the two East Malaysian states, especially Sarawak, remain the least developed in the country. No wonder the people of Sabah and Sarawak feel aggrieved, even today. No wonder there are many who feel they have been 'conned' into joining Malaysia.

The documentary "Hak Dinafikan" screened at the Malaysia Day Belong or 'Lelong' event SABM (Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia) was a strong reminder of the plight of the orang asal (original people). As one gentleman said at the end of the screening, "It not only opened my eyes, but also my heart."

A section of the crowd that turned up at the event on Malaysia Day.

Panel discussion with orang asal film directors (from right) Abri Yok Chopil and Shafie Dris who made the documentary "Hak Dinafikan", and young activists  Amanda Leonie (from Sabah) and Evelyne Tina Tawan (from Sarawak) who spoke about lack of development in their states, especially in the rural areas.

Some of the orang asal who attended the event.

The indigenous people are taking their protests to Putrajaya to stop the government from taking away their ancestral land. The land titles given to them by the government is a travesty of their rights, as the land belongs to them in the first place.

Tijah Yok Chopil, takes the mike to speak on behalf of the orang asli. 

In the latest case, the Temiars of Pos Belatim in Gua Musang is taking the Kelantan government to court for contracting out their ancestral land, without their negotiation or consent, to be developed by a private company, Sigur Ros Sdn Bhd, as an oil palm plantation on a 99-year lease.

Click here to read more about the struggles of the orang asal.

No comments: