Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tackle minorities’ plight, govt told

NGOs submit memo urging the PM to resolve illegal immigrant woes in Sabah and recognise indigenous people's rights over NCR land.

KUALA LUMPUR: Six NGOs representing minorities groups in the nation handed over a memorandum to the government in a bid to compel the government to address their plight.

Among the signatories were Borneo Resources Institute (Brimas), Common Interest Group of Malaysia (CigMa), Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, Indigenous People’s Network of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak Dayak-Iban Association (Sadia) and Sarawak Dayak National Union.

“We had a conference on the marginalisation of minorities in Malaysia earlier this year. We drafted a memo and submitted it to the government. Hopefully, the government will look into the issues,” said Hindraf advisor N Ganesan at a press conference today.

The memorandum was addressed to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and was submitted to his department in Putrajaya this morning.

Also present during the press conference were Cigma president Daniel John Jambun and Indigenous People’s Network of Malaysia’s Yusri Yahut.

One of the issues discussed earlier this year was the urgent need to recognise the indigenous people across the nation as the original inhabitants and also for the establishment of committees under local

councils for the disabled.

Ganesan said that NGOs were now coming together as a collective unit and there was a better prospect of having their voices heard with the larger representation.

“We are expanding our network to include other minority groups for strength in numbers. It is gaining momentum and hopefully it can create changes for the marginalised,” said Ganesan.

Return confiscated land

Daniel John said his NGO highlighted a very important issue plaguing the people of Sabah, which is the influx of a large number of illegal immigrants.

“Sabahans demand the government institute a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate allegations that illegal immigrants in the state are being given MyKad indiscriminately.

“We want justice.We also want the names of those illegals issued MyKads deleted from the electoral list before the general election and brought to book,” said Daniel.

Yusri called on the government to respect indigenous people as the original inhabitants of the land.

“We want the government to respect our history and recognise the customary rights of the indigenous people to their lands.

“In addition, we want the government to return land confiscated from the indigenous people or provide adequate compensation for their losses,” he said.