BENTONG, Sept 21 — The Pahang government never marginalised the welfare and needs of the Orang Asli, with a total of RM12.32 million allocated just for this year to improve the community’s standard of living in various aspects.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said allegations that Orang Asli in the state did not receive assistance were merely a game played by opposition politicians to confuse the community ahead of the Pelangai state by-election on Oct 7.
The Pahang UMNO liaison committee chairman said the state government agreed to provide 100 units of Rumah Rakyat Pahang for free, especially for the Orang Asli this year at a cost of RM7.5 million, in addition to allocating RM1.5 million to repair the homes of eligible Orang Asli.
“We will also introduce the Orang Asli PEDULI programme, involving an allocation of RM200,000 to achieve the target of helping 50 per cent of the total number of Orang Asli students to continue their higher education studies,” he told reporters after the launch of the 2023 Pahang Prihatin Aid for the Orang Asli community at the Sungai Bot Orang Asli Village here today.
In addition, Wan Rosdy said the Pahang Orang Asli Corporation or ORACO, a subsidiary of the state government, has also been established to help manage the affairs of the socio-economic development of the Orang Asli community.
“We understand that the Orang Asli community has its own culture and customs, so to make things easier, we have appointed many leaders among the Orang Asli themselves,” he said, citing Cameron Highlands Member of Parliament Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor and Orang Asli Development Department of Pahang director Johari Alwi as examples.
He said it was not impossible that, in the future, the state government administration would have an Orang Asli representative in the State Legislative Assembly, who would then be appointed as chairman of the committee related to the community.
The by-election was called following the death of its incumbent Datuk Seri Johari Harun, who was killed in the plane crash near Bandar Elmina, Shah Alam on Aug 17.
The Election Commission (EC) has fixed Oct 7 as polling day while nomination and early voting have been set for Saturday (Sept 23) and Oct 3 respectively.