The orang asli (meaning ‘original people’) are the indigenous minority people of Peninsular Malaysia whose ancestors inhabited the peninsula before the Malay kingdoms were established. They comprise 18 different groups, which make up 0.5 per cent of the total population of 26 million. While a few have become professionals and businessmen and some work in factories in urban areas, the majority still live in the forest and forest-fringed areas. They depend on swiddening, hunting, gathering, fishing, and trading in forest products for survival.
by Tan Sooi Beng
Aliran Monthly Vol 25 (2005): Issue 5