JOHOR BARU: The welfare of Orang Asli in this country, including those of Orang Seletar, is too far behind even though their rights are guaranteed in the Federal Constitution, says Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor.
He added that he was hopeful whoever receives the mandate in the Pulai parliamentary by-election would raise issues related to this community.
"The Orang Asli community needs to make a wise decision by choosing an elected representative that can bring local development to their area.
"My view is that the Orang Asli are far behind compared to other communities in Malaysia. There are several factors that need to be emphasised to overcome the matter including education, infrastructure development and economy.
"Orang Asli communities living near and within suburban areas have many opportunities to develop when compared to Orang Asli living in forest areas because local development is already available," he said.
Ramli said this when met after visiting Kampung Orang Asli Bakar Batu near Taman Sutera here on Thursday (Sept 7).
He added the challenge now was to expose them to various initiatives implemented by the government to improve their standard of living and economy.
In the Pulai parliamentary constituency, there were 500 Orang Asli residents in two villages in Bakar Batu and Sungai Temon with a total of 306 voters.
The Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-elections were held following the death of the incumbent Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub who was also the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister on July 23.
The Election Commission (EC) has set polling day for the two by-elections to be held this Saturday (Sept 9).
A total of 166,653 individuals are eligible to vote for the Pulai seat and a total of 40,379 voters for Simpang Jeram.