Following plans to amend the Aboriginal People’s Act of 1954, Native Customary Land Rights have been a spotlight issue in Malaysia. Read more below about the United Nations promise to local native communities to engage the Malaysian government on issues relating to their rights.
Read more on Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: The United Nations has promised local native communities that it would engage the Malaysian government on issues relating to their rights and ensure that these fundamentals are protected.
In conjunction with the celebration of World Indigenous Peoples Day, UN resident coordinator here Michelle Gyles-McDonnough said “the UN will work to ensure that states’ behaviors and policies are consistent with the UNDRIP (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).
“Let us work together to support our aspirations. Let us work together to build a world that celebrates diversity, conserves our natural wealth, and allows us to realize our full potential.”
Gyles-McDonnough was quoted as saying this in a statement issued today by Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia in conjunction with the World Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations.
The UN celebrated the day two days ago. The UN theme is “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements”.
The Malaysian aborigines community however began celebrations last Thursday. Their celebrations which ended today focused on maintaining their heritage and livelihood.
The Malaysian theme was “Continuing the Indigenous Heritage.”
Five hundred natives from different communities throughout Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak joined in the celebrations in Kuala Krau, Pahang.
Said Yusri Ahon, the organising chairman of the celebrations in Kuala Krau: “Our ancestral land is the foundation of our existence.
“We plant rice, vegetables, and hunt for our food in the forest, we depend on the forest for our traditional medicine.”
Native customary land rights have been a major issue for indigenous communities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabaha nd Sarawak.
In recent months the issue of land rights of native communities has been in the spotlight following plans by the Rural and Regional Development Ministry to amend the Aboriginal People’s Act 1954.
The amendments would enable the government agencies to take over 645,000 hectares of land.
Human Right commission, Suhakam, which has been inundated with complaints of land grabs also highlighted this and the issue of encroachment through their National Inquiry Report which was made public on Monday.
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low, who received the report on Monday, said that a task force led by Integrity Institute of Malaysia chief Mohd Tap Salleh had been formed to look into the viability of Suhakam’s recommendations.
But this has not appeased the indigenous communities who want the report tabled in Parliament.
Pragalath, K. “UN to engage M’sian govt on native rights.” Free Malaysia Today [Petaling Jaya] 11 Aug 2013. Web. <http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/08/11/un-to-engage-msian-govt-on-native-rights/>.