Embark on a journey to Kampung Ulu Tual with Maritime Fairtrade, delving into the Semai community under the leadership of Tok Batin Harun Siden Et Jantan.
Visiting the aboriginal community of Semai in Northwest Pahang, Malaysia, is an experience like no other. Maritime Fairtrade recently ventured into this area and was met with a world in turmoil, filled with darkness, bumps and potholes, all of which were silently endured by its community due to ignorance, empty promises, and a lack of ownership from various entities.
Malaysia’s indigenous population was recorded at 206,777 in the 2020 Census, making up approximately 11 percent of the total national population of 32.4 million. More specifically, Peninsular Malaysia has about 0.8 percent of its population composed of Orang Asli.
The Department of Aboriginal Affairs classifies the Orang Asli into three categories, based on ethnolinguistic criteria: Negrito (Semang), Senoi, and Aboriginal-Malay (Proto Malay). Each of these categories is further divided into 18 sub-ethnic groups, one of which is the Semai group.
The country has taken multiple steps to protect the rights of its indigenous people, such as endorsing the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Outcome Document of World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, but has still not ratified ILO Convention 169.