On 27 September 2014, 7 volunteers from the Bethel team together with members of our partner organization ICM travelled to an ‘orang asal’ village in Mantin. ICM assists poverty stricken communities throughout Malaysia particularly the orang asal.

We learnt from head villagers in that area that they were facing many legal problems with regard to their land and were finding it difficult to meet the financial needs of the community.

Bethel Community Centre have decided to adopt an Orang Asal village and conduct skills training, business training and legal seminars to ensure that these villages are self-sufficient. In the same vein, we aim to establish medical facilities in these communities where these villagers can, by appointment, get their basic immunisations and have their health concerns addressed.

Many of these villagers lack basic education and fall prey to various unfair bargains. Ultimately, they may lose their land, which represents their only source of income as almost all the villagers rely on the land’s produce to make ends meet. These villagers also encounter many difficulties with regard to trespassing, building permits and licences.

At the seminar on 27 September 2014 our Dato’ Jerald Gomez, a lawyer well versed in the area of native land rights conducted a seminar on the legal rights and remedies available to these villagers. Practical advice was given as to how to deal with the police and authorities. Dato’ Jerald also explained to these villagers their basic human and constitutional rights.

Also, our Mr Rajaram conducted a business seminar detailing how these villagers can generate a form of passive income whilst maximizing the use of their land. Mr Rajaram explained that there are many banking schemes and platforms that give these villagers, owing to their bumiputera status, preferential interest rates. This would also enable these villagers to deposit their money in a safe place which in turn reduced the instances of theft or extortion within and outside their village.

There were approximately 100 villagers at this particular village in Mantin and the Bethel team brought along packet meals to share with them. The team also had the privilege of trying their ‘orang asal’ food which they had prepared for us in anticipation of our visit. This time of sharing a meal together was very special and meaningful and allowed us to engage with each other more personally.

At the end of our visit, the head villagers approached the Bethel team and expressed their appreciation and asked for similar seminars to be conducted on a more frequent basis.

We would like to thank all the volunteers who sacrificed their time and effort to share their insights and offer affection to these villages who have been forgotten by many.

If you wish to join us for any event or project do contact us at coordinator@bethelcommunitycentre.com or +603 6207 9777 or +601 74 1010 75.

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