CCM Youth Press Release : Stop Bullying the Orang Asli Community

Posted on September 22, 2010

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The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) Youth issued a press release today on the concerns of the possibility of another Orang Asli church under construction in Kelantan being demolished.

The presss release is published unedited below.

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CCM Youth is concerned and aggrieved over repeated occurrences of what appear to be bullying acts against the Orang Asli community, and fully supports in solidarity the necessary legal actions to be taken to represent Penghulu Setmen bin Belungei to resolve this matter amicably and uphold the Temiar’s constitutional and customary rights. We seek for the JHEOA to immediately withdraw the “Stop Work” order made against the Temiar Pos Pasik indigenous community.

CCM Youth opines that JHEOA has overstepped its boundaries in denying the Orang Asli community their rights to choose to empower themselves, be it building upon their own land, homes, wells, a community hall, a temple, a mosque, a shrine or even a church, if they so wish, within the aboriginal reserves. These land rights of our Orang Asli community are protected by Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954 whereby the lands which they occupy are protected as aboriginal reserves, belonging to them and they have every right to their land.

JHEOA should focus instead on its primary responsibility and objectives of caring for the wellbeing of the indigenous community as stipulated in its mission statement “to improve the aboriginal’s socio-economic status and competency, increase national involvement for economy, social and political development while preserving the identity and values of the aboriginals”.

Furthermore, the rights of our Orang Asli are also protected by our very own Federal Constitution and internationally by United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. JHEOA has clearly violated:

1. Article 11 of Our Federal Constitution, which spelled out very clearly in clause (1) “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it” and clause (3) “Every religious group has the right –
(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.”

2. Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

As we have only just celebrated our National Day and Malaysia Day as well, may we remind JHEOA, as well as all other state and federal government agencies, of our Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia message of seeking to build community and unity through harmonious respect for one another, and celebrate proudly our colourful “Ais Kacang” heritage. We need to “walk the talk”.

CCM Youth reiterates our call to stop bullying our indigenous peoples, and for the JHEOA to respect their chosen Christian faith and, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, allow them to proceed peacefully in building their church at Pos Pasik without further obstacles. We also support the Temiar community in their efforts to seek the assistance and intervention from the Menteri Besar of Kelantan and urge all members of the public to petition against the JHEOA to withdraw immediately their threats to demolish the church.

Posted in: Free the people