Day 15

Posted On August 5, 2007

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ORANG ASLI (OA )
They numbered 147,412 in 2003 representing a mere 0.6 per cent of the national population (26.5 million).
Land is a pressing issue for the OA because it is their primary source of life and is crucial for the continuity of their communities.
In the Peninsula, when an area is declared as protected, the land rights of the OA are the first to be affected. The people become part of the project of eco-tourism or ecological protection and may be told where to stay. When their land is displaced by development projects, they are either given monetary compensation which may not be sufficient to make up for the loss, or are given another piece of land of which they obtain no written permanent tenure.
Without a land to be called their own, what is the right of the OA in building places of worship? Article 11 gives every person, i.e. including the OA, the right to profess and practice his religion, and every religious group to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes.
However, the inconsistencies in definitions and interpretation of land rights between the OA and the states have created considerable conflicts especially in building places of worship.
None of the provisions on OA ancestral rights over land (The Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954, revised in 1974) are included in the National Land Code Act 56/65.
So far, only about 12 per cent of all the 869 OA settlements are properly gazetted as Orang Asli reserves.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His love for the Orang Asli.
b. His blessings upon the growing OA churches.
c. Raising capable OA Christian leaders.
d. Non-OA churches that are supportive.
2. The authorities to resolve the plight of OA communities and recognise their rights to land and religious freedom.
3. The government to consider amending the National Land Code in terms of land entitlement for the OA.
4. In the event of compulsory acquisition of their lands, OA are equitably compensated for their lands.
5. OA themselves to stand up for their rights with boldness and wisdom.
6. OA parents to recognise the importance of education for their children.
7. Salt & light:
a. Churches to be bold and courageous in voicing OA dilemma and to serve the communities with humility in all aspects with no strings attached.
b. OA Christian leaders to be full of spirit and wisdom.
c. OA Christians to stand firm in the Lord, and demonstrate God’s goodness in their respective communities.

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