As of 2017, the Indigenous Peoples of Malaysia were estimated to account for around 13.8% of the 31,660,700 million national population. They are collectively known as Orang Asal. The Orang Asli are the Indigenous Peoples of Peninsular Malaysia.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight one of our partner projects, where indigenous women have taken the lead and confronted challenges facing their community. In 2013, IWGIA partnered with the Sabah Women Action Resource Group (SAWO) to address violence against women in the Northern Sabah region of Malaysia, and we have recently renewed the project.
“This is the first time that such a project is being undertaken in Sabah, a state that is one of the poorest in Malaysia and where the needs and rights of rural people, particularly women, are often ignored and overlooked by political leaders and government development agencies,” said Winnie Yee, project coordinator and SAWO president.
In an article in the Daily Express Malaysia from 13 November 2014 the Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman, has made a statement that NGOs such as IWGIA’s partner the Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (PACOS) are misleading and confusing natives to blame the government for not giving them land.