Organized Panel Session
2 - "This land belongs to us" versus "We belong to this land": Social and Ecological Implications of Colonial and Indigenous Concepts of Land in Malaysia
Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Marigold, New Building
- The paper discusses social and ecological implications of the imposition of colonial and capitalist-oriented concepts of land and property ownership among the Orang Asli (Malaysian Aborigines). As one of the most marginalized communities in Malaysia, their marginalization stems from their displacement, dispossession, and degradation of their environments. Government-sponsored development for the Orang Asli has mostly been implemented through resettlement projects where Orang Asli have been enticed to leave their forest or forest fringe homelands and settle in patterned villages resembling Malay kampongs. Resettlement and displacing them from their traditional lands is based on a myth that they do not have clear notions of land rights. Their connection to the land is predicated on their conception that ‘humans belong to the land’ and that land is “owned” by supernatural beings. Thus, the concept of land is an important source of history and identity for the Orang Asli.