JOHOR BARU: Orang Asli in Johor are advised to continue abiding by the recovery movement control order (MCO) which has been extended until Dec 31,2020.
Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) Johor deputy director Mohd Badri Ismail said the department was satisfied with the cooperation given by the Orang Asli since the start of the MCO on March 18.
“Hopefully, they will continue to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) including wearing face mask in public places and observe physical distancing for their own safety, ’’ he said.
Mohd Badri also advised them to be more prudent when it comes to spending money and only buy essential items.
He said some 4,861 Orang Asli households in the state had received food baskets worth about RM1.5mil during the MCO so far.
He said the baskets contained rice bags, cooking oil, sugar, flour, salt, sardine can, pack of tea and condensed milk.
“So far, there are no cases of Orang Asli testing positive for Covid-19 or caught flouting the SOP, ’’ he said.
On another matter, he said Jakoa would continue to create better awareness among Orang Asli parents on the importance of education for their children.
Mohd Badri said only education would help them to get out of the poverty cycle and teach them to be economically independent.
He said the department has appointed several Orang Asli bus and van operators to transport Orang Asli children from their villages to schools.
Mohd Badri said the villages were in Johor Baru, Batu Pahat, Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Pontian and Kluang and the services covered about 114 routes in the area.
“Presently, there are about 3,000 Orang Asli children in Johor studying in 134 primary and 136 secondary schools in the state, ’’ he said.
Mohd Badri said while dropout among Orang Asli students was inevitable, he said the situation had improved in recent years as the department continued to reach out to the community on the importance of education for their children.
He said it also allocated RM80 school fees each for Orang Asli pupils, RM120 for secondary school students and RM300 for students at boarding schools such as Maktab Rendah Sains Mara and Sekolah Sains.
Mohd Badri said the passing rate among Orang Asli students in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination was encouraging in recent years.
He said prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and MCO, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia had organised free tuition classes for the Orang Asli sitting for SPM.
“The SPM passing rate for Orang Asli students is higher in Batu Pahat and Pontian and this is likely due to them mixing with non-Orang Asli students, ’’ said Mohd Badri.
He said Jakoa would work closely with the federal and state agencies and corporate sector to reach out to Orang Asli with economic-related projects.
Mohd Badri said among the projects in the pipeline that could generate income for the community included cattle rearing, breeding stingless bees for their honey, fishing, coffee, pineapple and rubber cultivation.
“We want to improve the livelihood of the community in Johor, ’’ he said.
Mohd Badri said while it was not easy to change the traditional way of life or the community, they should not be sidelined as they could also contribute to Johor’s development.
There are about 16,700 Orang Asli living in 68 villages in the state from five different ethnic groups, namely Jakun, Orang Kuala, Orang Seletar, Temuan and Kanaq.
Kluang district has the highest number of Orang Asli villages in Johor with 12, followed by Mersing and Segamat with nine villages respectively.
Others are Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang with eight villages respectively, Batu Pahat (seven), Kota Tinggi and Muar (five each), Tangkak (three) and Pontian (two).
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