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Orang Asli (‘original people’) refer to the small aborginal population who live in the hinterland of Malaysia. In Peninsular Malaysia, the three main groups of Orang Asli are the proto-Malays, the Semang (negritos) and the Senoi. They represent a very small part of the population, and the development of Malaysia in the last few decades have led to the encroachment of land in their grounds.

Govt allocates RM4m for orang asli museum
The Star, 20 Feb 2008

The Government has allocated RM4mil to the Orang Asli Museum in Gombak to boost its arts, culture and heritage, said Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Dr Rais Yatim.

The funds would be used to increase the collections of artefacts and research books, as well as come up with a cultural festival for the orang asli in Peninsular Malaysia and the natives in East Malaysia, he said.

“We hope that this would attract tourists and increase the understanding of the civilisation of the orang asli in Peninsular Malaysia; they make up 150,000 people,” he said.

Efforts are also being made to study their traditional medicines for pharmaceutical uses. There is however, another subtext to this story – it’s election season…

Related books:
Early History (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia) by Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman (Ed)
Museums Of Southeast Asia by I. Lenzi

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