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Learning from the OA for Ainu rights

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The Orang Asli village of Penderas in Kuala Krau, Pahang recently received visitors from Japan. They came on a study tour to learn how Malaysian NGOs organise communities to present to and even challenge the government on issues concerning them.

They were hosted by urban poor movement Permas, and were earlier given a tour of urban dwellers who had been promised housing in exchange for the land they were living in and were then given long-houses as temporary accommodation. But many are still living in these long-houses 20 years on.

The Orang Asli village represents other villages and reflects their lives and problems they face with authorities. The perennial issue is always land. The Orang Asli own no land on the reserve and are often harassed and threatened by authorities and timber operators when they go out hunting or gathering herbs and other produce of the forest for their daily needs.

The Japanese visitors were from an NGO based in Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido. They work with Japan's own indigenous peoples; the Ainu who originate from this island.

The Ainu have similar problems with our own Orang Asli; mainly rights over land and hunting grounds.

For along time, the Ainu were not recognised as indigenous people because of the policy of assimilation during the Meiji period.

It was not until the UN declared the Ainu as indigenous people in 1992 that offered some recognition to them, but it wasn't until 2008 that the Japanese government acknowledged them as such and instituted an Ainu Policy.

However the policy fell short of recognising their rights to land and hunting grounds and has been more of a cultural preservation rather than rights recognition.

Many Japanese are however still ignorant of their indigenous peoples living in their midst.

The study visit of the Japanese NGO representatives is to study how human rights NGOs like Permas and Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM) organise ground-level activities on rights issues.

Hosting the visitors at his home was Shafie Dris, coordinator for JKOASM.

Video by Shufiyan Shukur
Narrator: Faidzal Mokhtar

Many thanks to:

Shafie Dris (JKOASM)
Julie Wong (Permas)
The people of Kampung Penderas, Kuala Krau
TV Saluran - TV Channel
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