Malaysia's indigenous tribes are hoping that a planned revision of a colonial-era law will grant them ownership of forests that their ancestors inhabited for more than 10,000 years, activists said.
They say the centuries-old culture and lifestyle of peninsular Malaysia's Orang Asli, or "Original People," have been threatened by developments such as airports, dams and highways that force tribes to move out of their homes _ located in forests owned by the state _ into semi-urban settings.
"Our main concern is land," said Juli Edo, an anthropology professor at Kuala Lumpur's University Malaya who belongs to an Orang Asli tribe. "We want a legal backup for the right to own land," he said Wednesday. >> continue