Govt always places special emphasis on wellbeing, education of Orang Asli, says PM

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 20 Nov 2021

BERA: The government has always placed special emphasis on the wellbeing of Orang Asli in the country, including in the aspect of education, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said among the initiatives taken were the Orang Asli Special Admission Pathway to Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) programme, which was being studied for implementation next year.

"Such a special pathway and access can give more opportunities to children of Orang Asli to pursue tertiary education and we are confident to see more of them graduating from UPNM.”

He said including the Orang Asli is an important agenda under the principle of Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) to ensure that they too can shoulder the responsibility to develop the nation with the strong spirit of love for the country.

Ismail Sabri said this in his speech in conjunction with the Jakoa-UPNM community service programme at SK Bukit Rok here Saturday (Nov 20).

Also present were Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director-general Sapiah Mohd Nor and UPNM vice-chancellor Lt Gen Datuk Hasagaya Abdullah.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said some educational aid that was discontinued under the previous Pakatan Harapan government has been reinstalled, some with increased allocation, to help the children of Orang Asli to gain education.

"We are also facilitating the learning process for children of Orang Asli living in remote areas by providing them hostel facilities...we used to have K-9 schools (Comprehensive Special Model School) tailored for them, and it had also been further improved with K11 schools.

"We want to see more Orang Asli children pursue their education to the highest level possible, probably overseas, and not only to get a bachelor’s degree, but maybe a PhD,” he said.

The government’s special emphasis on Orang Asli can also be seen in the allocation given to the community in Budget 2022 and the 12th Malaysia Plan.

For the government to fully understand the needs of the Orang Asli community, Ismail Sabri said he himself, when he was helming the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, had taken the initiative to appoint the first Orang Asli - Datuk Ajis Sitin - to lead Jakoa in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Jakoa-UPNM community service programme, held under the SULAM (Service-Learning Malaysia University for Society) concept is a two-pronged programme to help the local community and develop the characters and soft skills of the students involved.

The programme, which began last week, saw the participation of 50 students and three lecturers from the UPNM Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health.

During the event, Ismail Sabri also witnessed the exchange of a memorandum of strategic cooperation between UPNM and Jakoa and the presentation of a mock cheque of RM90,840 from Jakoa to the university to sponsor its four Orang Asli students.

For the record, Jakoa has sponsored 983 Orang Asli students in various fields and levels involving an allocation of RM4.2mil. – Bernama

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Ismail Sabri , Orang Asli , UPNM , Jakoa , Budget 2022


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