BN is getting deeper into hot soup today. Apart from the rural Malays, Sabah and Sarawak, BN relies mainly on the concrete support of Orang Asli to retain their hold on the Putrajaya seat. Now, another BN's stronghold is at the verge of collapsing...
Set against the backdrop of masjid Putrajaya, more than 2,000 orang asli converged at the square to send a memorandum to PM's department in a protest against the government's unfair land policy, poor services and requesting for more senators from the group (now they have only 1 senator and they want 3 senators from their group).
This time around, the police stopped them from marching towards PM's department and instead diverted half of the crowd to the Ministry of Rural Development whilst the balance half are in the square. The police did not allow the orang asli to display any banners but allowed 5 representatives to submit their memorandum to PM's department.
The memorandum was signed by 12,000 orang asli throughout Malaysia and that is not a small figure. Why did I say so? For them to get 12,000 to sign the memorandum out of 150,000 orang aslis throughout peinsular Malaysia is a huge feat. That's almost 8 % of the total orang aslis, including those below 21 years old. And this is not the first protest...
On Feb 24, 2010, a group of orang asli held a peaceful protest in Gombak against Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) over its policies, poor services and two fatalities.
Is the Government losing its griphold over the orang asli? What was once a guaranteed vote for Perikatan (later rebranded as BN) is no longer there. If these 12,000 orang asli can signed on the memorandum, just imagine what it can do if they combine with those from Sabah and Sarawak?
I used to remember the days when orang asli in Pahang got the better of Perikatan during the GE. First they asked for 4WD because they need it to travel to the nearby towns. Perikatan obliged but comes polling day, the orang asli did not turn up forcing the Perikatan party workers to scramble into their settlement to canvass the necessary votes. What is the orang asli response? Land rover ada tapi kalau minyak tak ada, sama saja.... That force Perikatan workers to promise the orang asli for continuous fuel supply to the land rovers. Who says orang asli are simple minded people?
Maybe those close to Pahang royalty can verify how the Sultan of Pahang makes an effort to visit orang aslis yearly to hear their grouses in return of votes for Perikatan (or laterday BN). That was then, what will it be in GE 13?
Gua Musang is Tg Razaleigh's stronghold. This happen because orang asli have high respect towards Tg Razaleigh. The way BN treat Tg Razaleigh now, do you think the orang asli will vote BN, if Tg Razaleigh is not defending Gua Musang?
Let's move on to Sabah and Sarawak. Do you think they are happy with the way the government acted on the Native Customary Rights (NCR) issue? Sarawak government is strong now because the natives there are supporting BN. The same goes for Sabah. What will happen if the natives from Sabah and Sarawak joined hand with their peninsular brothers to protest on this common issue?
HRH has ommended Najib on his walkabout. So far, Najib has even gone to Sarawak for his walk about but does najib listen to the plight of the natives? What will Najib be doing on NCR and land issue? Will Najib be passing the buck to Shafie Afdal? Can Shafie Afdal handle these? Isn't it Shafie Afdal, when he was the Domestic and Trade minister cause prices to go up despite his assurances?
Shafie Afdal did meet these protesters in Putrajaya today. He had dialogue with them and the best Shafie Afdal can say is "these orang asli are in Putrajaya for the views and for food". Is this how a minister should respond? Is this in line wih Najib's "rakyat didahulukan, pencapaian diutamakan"? With ministers like Shafie Afdal (who happens to be one of UMNO's VP), who needs clown to keep you entertained?
Orang asli has openly voiced out their displeasure twice. Will this be enough for them to cross over and support PR? If they do, then BN better find the right doors to clear from Putrajaya...
Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...