Are the orang asli bumiputras? The constitution seems ambiguous on their status. Some would argue that it includes the orang asli in the peninsula (the defacto Law Minister for instance) while others contend that bumiputras refer specifically to Muslim Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak. The interpretation of 'bumiputra' by various public institutions seems to exclude the orang asal. For instance, the Higher Education Ministry defines a bumiputra as:
- in Peninsular Malaysia, if one of the parents is a Muslim Malay the child is a bumiputra,
- in Sabah, if the father is a Muslim Malay or an indigenous native, his child is a bumiputra,
- in Sarawak, if both parents are indigenous natives, their child is a bumiputra.
The upshot of of this is that even the marginalized orang asal who have been suffering in abject silence have for once decided to stand up for their rights. Were they emboldened by the recent success of their counterparts in Sarawak who were successful in legally wrestling back their land from the Sarawak State government?
Read here and here for more.