MP to natives: Treasure education, defend NCR lands, forests

Mongin (third from left) and Nansian (fourth from left) at 'Seminar of Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)' held at Redeems Centre in Bau today.

KUCHING, August 8: Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin today reminded the indigenous community in the state to value education and to safeguard their rights to native customary lands and forests.

“There are laws that we must adhere to in preserving our resources. It is important that we, as the indigenous community, work hard to preserve our resources.

“And while defending our rights to the customary lands and forests we inherited from our ancestors, we must also continue to enrich ourselves as well as our children with knowledge and education,” he said at the ‘Seminar of Jeringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)’ progaramme at Redeem Centre in Bau today.

Citing the United Nations’ Jan 5, 2010, reports, Mongin said one-third of the indigenous communities in the world were still living in poverty.

“The indigenous communities are still facing issues such poverty, (poor) health, crime and rights abuses that they do not deserve,” he lamented.

Mongin told those present that education could unshackle the people from the clutches of poverty.

“To break the poverty cycle is not easy, but not impossible. We must admit it is a problem,” he said, adding, “We have all heard the advice about getting educated to increase income and, thereby, have a better quality of life.

“In fact, those who are better educated do have better income and seldom experience the lack of health care or shelter that is related to poverty,” he said.

Also present at the seminar was former Assistant Minister of Industrial Estate Development Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie. — DayakDaily