THE Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) wants to continue improving the life of Orang Asli in Johor to ensure they are not left behind in mainstream development.
State Jakoa director Faisal Long said the department would work closely with federal and state agencies as well as the corporate sector to reach out to the Orang Asli with income-generating projects.
“We will conduct programmes to equip them with knowledge and skills, and make them more financially independent, ” he said.
Faisal said that while it would not be an easy task to change the traditional way of life of Orang Asli, they should not be sidelined or left behind.
“They too can contribute to Johor’s development and nation building.”
He said the department would look at the success story involving a mussel farming project near Pasir Gudang, which was introduced by Petronas-Pengerang Refining Petrochemical (PRefChem) to the Orang Seletar in Kampung Kuala Masai.
He said the large-scale mussel farming project that started in the village in 2019 involving about 50 Orang Seletar, helped to supplement their income.
“We have identified three revenue-generating projects for Orang Asli in the state, which are mussel farming, cattle breeding and permanent stalls for traders to sell fish and seafood, ” he added.
The projects will take off with a RM300,000 allocation under Johor Budget 2021 for the Orang Asli development and entrepreneurship programme.
Faisal also said that RM100,000 would be utilised to build concrete stalls for Orang Seletar fishermen in Kampung Bakar Batu Perling near Johor Baru and Kampung Kuala Masai.
“Ten Orang Seletar villagers from each village will be roped in to sell the products to villagers and outsiders to supplement their income, ’’ he elaborated.
He said ikan bandang susu (milk fish), mussels, mud crabs, edible freshwater snails, sea tilapia, seabass, clams and siput remis would be among the products to be offered.
Faisal said another RM100,000 would be used for mussel farming in Kampung Sri Pantai in Senggarang, Batu Pahat involving 10 Orang Asli villages.
He said the remaining RM100,000 would be allocated for cattle breeding projects in Kampung Putih and Kampung Segamat Kecil, both in Segamat with each village receiving RM50,000.
Faisal said that so far, the department had given assistance to Orang Asli coastal and inland fishermen in Batu Pahat, Pontian, Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang.
“We have given them boats and fishing nets, ’’ he said.
There are about 16,700 Orang Asli in 68 villages in Johor, comprising 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 each respectively.
Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang have eight villages each, Batu Pahat has seven, besides five each in Kota Tinggi and Muar while three are in Tangkak and two in Pontian.