'Amendments made to Act 134 will safeguard Orang Asli rights' - Zahid
PUTRAJAYA - The amendment of the Orang Asli Act 1954 (Act 134) will focus on issues relating to the registration of marriages and births as well as land ownership involving Orang Asli.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the amendments will be done soon to safeguard the rights of Orang Asli.
"We want these customary marriages to have valid certification and in accordance with legal aspects," he said.
Zahid said the matter was discussed with the Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Ramli Mohd Noor.
"Orang Asli must be given the opportunity to safeguard their interests, the government is committed towards implementing it," he said at a press conference after the official visit to the Orang Asli development department (Jakoa), here, on Thursday.
He said the process for the amendments to be made to the act had begun since last year after early research was done by Jakoa.
"Amending this act requires two-thirds support in the Dewan Rakyat," he said He added that the government was aiming for better education opportunities for the community and is targetting for 300 Orang Asli children to enter universities.
"To achieve that goal, motivational and additional classes will be implemented," he said.
Zahid said the Orang Asli Economic Development Secretariat has also been established with Ramli appointed as the chairman and Jakoa as the secretariat.
"This is not nepotism or cronyism, but they have the same objective to bring changes for the community," he said.
Currently there are 209,000 Orang Asli throughout the country.