Orang Asli community in state pleads for food aid

Ismail hopes for faster Internet connection for his villages.

THE Orang Asli community in Perak say they are running out of food and need assistance to help them cope with the second movement control order.

Kampung Chang Sungai Gepai Tok Batin Dahil Yok Chopil, from Bidor, said food supply in his village was running low.

“Although there are no Covid-19 cases reported at our village, we dare not go out as we are worried for the safety of our family.

“Since the MCO started on Jan 22, our grocery supplies are running low, ” he told StarMetro.

Dahil said although there were three grocery shops located within his village, basic supplies in the shops were running out.

“Before the MCO, we managed to get supplies and rations for all the villagers.

“We are not asking for much, just basic groceries like rice, cooking oil, sugar and dry ingredients to tide us through these difficult times, ” he said, adding that the village has 177 families with about 650 villagers.

Dahil said he has not received any update from the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa).

“During the first MCO last year, we got some foodstuff in April.

“Hopefully, the help will arrive soon, ” he said.

In April last year, about 4,300 Orang Asli villagers from 15 villages in the state received food aid from Jakoa.

The whole country, except for Sarawak is now under MCO until Feb 4.

It was also announced that the Batu 6 Orang Asli Village in Batang Padang has been put under enhanced MCO.

Meanwhile, concerns over food supply are not the only thing on Pos Slim Tok Batin Ismail Balah’s mind.

The slow Internet connection in the villages under his supervision has him worried.

“Internet connectivity is not good enough. It is affecting our children’s studies and their ability to follow e-learning classes set up by their schools.

“I am pleading with the state government and Education Ministry to do something about this, ” he said, adding that there were about 60 pupils and students in the village.

“As a parent, I cannot bear to see our children being left behind in their education, ” he added.

Ismail is responsible for six Orang Asli villages, namely Kampung Pawong, Kampung Chiduk, Kampung Jantong, Kampung Pos Atap, Kampung Palas and Kampung Sungai Penuh.

“We have Semai, Temiar, Jahai and Temua tribes residing in these villages.

“Not only do we hope that help would come from Jakoa, we also hope other agencies can send foodstuff and help our children, ” he said.

Perak and Kedah Jakoa director Harulnizam Abdul Rahman said food baskets were sent to at least 145 Orang Asli families on Jan 20.

“For this MCO, we were told that the food baskets are only given to those affected by the monsoon and quarantine due to Covid-19.

“Until we receive more allocation, there is no budget for food baskets to be given to all Orang Asli villagers in Perak, ” he said.

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