Over 10% of Orang Asli children drop out of school, says Mahdzir

CYBERJAYA: It is estimated that more than 10% of Orang Asli children have dropped out of school due to various factors including logistics and family problems in addition to their negative attitude towards education, says Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

Speaking at a press conference after chairing an Orang Asli Consultative Council (MaPOA) meeting here, the Rural Development Minister said the Orang Asli community had urged the government to look into ways to stop their children from dropping out of school even though their school attendance rate is now at over 80%.

Besides education issues, problems related to health and gazetting of Orang Asli land were also discussed in the MaPOA, which is a platform for the community to air their views and give feedback to resolve problems.

With regards to health, Mahdzir said the community representatives called for more centralised treatment centres in Orang Asli villages to facilitate those living in the interior areas.

"They also proposed that the Ministry of Health allow their members holding the positions of assistant medical officers in other states to return to their villages,” he said.

On the gazetting of Orang Asli land, he said as of Dec 2021, a total of 40,600ha involving 215 villages had been gazetted covering housing settlements, farms or orchards, while another 638 villages are still in the process of being gazetted by the state government.

In Peninsular Malaysia, there are 853 Orang Asli villages, most of which are in Pahang, Kelantan and Perak.

Mahdzir said all matters arising in the MaPOA would be discussed at the Rural Development Ministry level together with stakeholders before they are taken up to the relevant ministries, such as the Education and Health Ministries, and later the Cabinet. - Bernama

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Mahdzir Khalid , Orang Asli , school , children , MaPOA , land


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