Orang Asal - PhMuseum

Orang Asal

David Verberckt

2020

Pahang, Malaysia; Sarawak, Malaysia

The Orang Asal are the indigenous people of Malaysia and about 2.1 million. Orang Asal is the term for "Original People" in Malay and refers to the aboriginal communities of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia (Northern Borneo) and Peninsular Malaysia where they are known as Orang Asli. The Orang Asli are only about 150,000 and less than 1% of the population, they are further divided in ethnic subgroups and tribes. In East Malaysia there are many more sub-groups and tribes and they make up more than 50% of the population in the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

The Orang Asal have their own religions and customs, as well as unique languages. Orang Asal are as "Original People" of Malaysia granted special privileges under the Constitution of Malaysia. However, their communities remain substantially marginalised in contrast with ethnic Malays. Especially with regard to land use and ownership, which is often grabbed for agriculture, mining and development purposes. In particular (illegal) logging, mining and palm oil plantations that often occurs on what is considered Orang Asal traditional land and hunting ground, have dramatic effects forcing them to move out of their traditional habitat and live in resettlement areas. The Bakun Dam project in Sarawak has forcibly moved more than 11,000 people from their traditional lands. Also, many have in the past decennia been pressed to assimilate into main-stream culture and convert to Islam.

The Orang Asli in Peninsula Malaysia have lifestyles varying from fishermen to farmers to hunter-gatherers. Though most are now settled, some remain semi-nomadic with the rainforest as their privileged lands.

Many Orang Asal in Sarawak are still involved in hunting and fruit gathering keeping a semi-nomadic lifestyle and staying sometimes for weeks in traditional longhouses deep in the rainforest.

Unfortunately, the rainforest, their natural habitat, is under immense pressure with deforestation pushing the Orang Asal further away and threatening their lifestyle marginalising them even more.

Child of the Bateq community, a tribe of the Orang Asli. During the past decennia mine exploitation, logging and widespread palm oil plantations have severely jeopardized their lifestyle and livelihood. Through re-settlement projects they are mostly living in small community clusters at the edge of the rainforest.

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  • A boy of the Bateq community, a tribe of the Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Malaysia. During the past decennia mine exploitation, logging and widespread palm oil plantations have severely jeopardized their way of life and livelihood. Through re-settlement projects they are mostly living in small community clusters at the edge of the rainforest. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Old woman of the Bateq community, a tribe of the Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Malaysia. During the past decennia mine exploitation, logging and widespread palm oil plantations have severely jeopardized their way of life and livelihood. Through re-settlement projects they are mostly living in small community clusters at the edge of the rainforest. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Hills, once covered with primary rainforest, used for palm oil plantations. Road to Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia, February 2020

  • A Kayan indigenous person at the entrance of his long house deep in the jungle where several men from the community will stay several days while hunting and collecting tropical fruit like Durian. Rainforest in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, February 2020

  • Typical long house deep in the rainforest where several men from the Orang Ulu will stay several days while hunting and collecting tropical fruit like Durian. Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, February 2020

  • A member of the Orang Ulu or indigenous people from the interior of Sarawak climbing the hills of the rainforest to go hunting and fruit picking. Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Durian fruit shell, an important commodity for the Orang Ulu, the indigenous people of the rainforest in Sarawak, Borneo. Malaysia, February 2020

  • Members of the Orang Ulu or indigenous people from the interior of Sarawak taking a rest deep in the tropical rainforest, where they will spend several days hunting and fruit picking. Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Interior of a typical long house nesteled deep in the jungle where indigenous people will spend several days, sometimes weeks, hunting. Sarawak Rainforest in Malaysian Borneo, February 2020

  • Using only a small LED battery light in the evening in a long house. Long houses, where men of the Orang Ulu spend several days or weeks, are very basic and serve merely as a protective shelter of the elements and animals deep in the jungle. Water is taken from the river and Durian shells are used as fire wood. Rainforest in Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Orang Asli, indingenous people of the Bateq community. Bateq people are originally hunters living with and in the tropical rainforest. During the past decennia mine exploitation, logging and widespread palm oil plantations have severely jeopardized their way of life and livelihood. Through re-settlement projects they are mostly living in small community clusters at the edge of the rainforest. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Children of the Bateq community playing. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Palm oil plantations that are replacing primary rainforest at an alarming rate, destroying eco systems and the livelihood of indigenous communities that used to live in the rainforest. Road to Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Member of the Orang Ulu or indigenous people from the interior of Sarawak walking through deep tropical rainforest to go hunting and fruit picking for several days. Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Typical long house deep in the jungle where several men from the Orang Ulu will stay several days while hunting and collecting tropical fruit like Durian. Rainforest in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, February 2020

  • A Kayan indigenous person locating fruit to fetch. Tropical rainforest in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, February 2020

  • Girl of the Bateq community, a tribe of the Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Malaysia. During the past decennia mine exploitation, logging and widespread palm oil plantations have severely jeopardized their way of life and livelihood. Through re-settlement projects they are mostly living in small community clusters at the edge of the rainforest. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Orang Asli, indingenous people of the Bateq community. Bateq people are originally hunters living with and in the tropical rainforest. During the past decennia mine exploitation, logging and widespread palm oil plantations have severely jeopardized their way of life and livelihood. Through re-settlement projects they are mostly living in small community clusters at the edge of the rainforest. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Basic school for children of the Bateq community. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020

  • Basic school for children of the Bateq community. Pecah Keljbi settlement, Merapoh, Pahang, Malaysia, February 2020


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