The Selangor State Government welcomes the withdrawal of the appeal before the Federal Court by the Federal Government, the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) and United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM) in the Sagong Tasi & Ors. case. With the finalisation of settlement and the terms recorded today, the 15-year-old case finally comes to a close, with its historic judgement left intact.
Today’s outcome is a landmark conclusion because it recognises the rights of indigenous peoples to customary lands. Prior to this decision, the Orang Asli were regarded as mere tenants.
In April 2009, the Selangor State Government under Pakatan Rakyat withdrew from this appeal to the Federal Court, demonstrating its concern for amicable settlement affecting the Orang Asli community, especially land. The move also clearly reflects a recognition of the rights of the Orang Asli and Orang Asal communities in Malaysia by Pakatan Rakyat. To this end, the Selangor State Government plans to gazette some 25 Orang Asli villages by August 2010.
It is also important to mention that the Selangor state government is aware of – though not formally consulted on – Federal efforts to amend the Orang Asli Act to limit the quantum of compensation and the size of land ownership.
We urge the Federal government to affirm the spirit of this internationally recognised judgement of Sagong Tasi and allow for more comprehensive consultation with the Orang Asli community before passing the law.
Executive Councillor, Selangor State Government
Chairperson of the Selangor Orang Asli Land Task Force (BBTOAS)
By: YB Elizabeth Wong
Publisher: YB Elizabeth Wong
Copyright: Rengah Sarawak