Please listen to Siti Kassim about giving aid to the Orang Asli. An NGO or individual may have good intentions, but they could be doing more harm than good…

We know that there are many people who want to help the marginalised communities during this Coronavirus pandemic.

The following letter from a group of NGOS, and published in Malaysiakini, will explain the crisis better from their point of view. The authorities should engage with them.

Before we rush out to reach out to help certain communities, like the Orang Asli, human rights lawyer, Siti Kassim, would like us to exercise caution. Her reasons are given in the interview below.

First. The NGOs’ Letter of Appeal

We the undersigned civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) view with grave concern the announcement by Defence Minister Ismail Sabri concerning how NGOs will now no longer be allowed to deliver food to vulnerable communities.

We certainly appreciate the gravity of the Covid-19 situation, and are fully committed to assist the government in every possible way to battle Covid-19 and stop the spread of the virus.

At the same time, we are concerned that there is a lack of appreciation as to just how many vulnerable communities are affected by the Movement Control Order, and are having difficulties accessing basic necessities such as food.

These communities include the B40, urban and rural poor, Malaysians who have lost their income as a result of the MCO, the elderly, the housebound, the sick, orphans, orang asli, migrant workers, refugee communities, and many, many more.

It is hard to imagine that the government has a complete list of all the vulnerable communities that need assistance, and will be able to take over serving all these communities immediately.

The very suggestion of such overcentralisation suggests poor planning and a poor understanding of the plight of the poor.

NGOs do not exist to supersede the work of the government, or to put the government in bad light in any way. The concept of #KitaJagaKita is not meant to imply any failure on the part of the government – it only emphasises the fact that the crisis is so bad, that all of us have a duty to care for one another.

We plead to the government to allow all NGOs that have been distributing food, medicine, and other aid to be allowed to continue doing so in a way that is safe and responsible, in full cooperation with the government, and in accordance with the health and safety guidelines of the government. We are certain NGOs involved will continue taking every required measure, including the consistent use of hand sanitisers and masks, social distancing, and the minimising of the number people involved.

This crisis is putting the lives of many, many vulnerable Malaysians at risk. We all need to come together and do our part, as a united nation.

(NB The list of NGOs which sent this letter is below.)

Second: Siti’s advice for those who want to help the Orang Asli

Human rights lawyer, Siti Kassim has a very important message to the people – NGOs and individuals – who want to give aid to the Orang Asli (OA). Please listen to her video.

Naturally we are worried about the OA but we do not want the OA community to be decimated because we brought our urban and modern diseases to their rural communities.

She suggests JAKOA’s assistance.

List of NGOs which sent the letter

1. Agora Society


3. Al-Hasan Volunteer Network


5. Association of Women with Disabilities Malaysia

6. Asylum Access Malaysia


8. Bersih 2.0

9. Beyond Borders Malaysia

10. Borneo Komrad

11. Buku Jalanan Chow Kit

12. Cahaya Society

13. Calvary Rainbow Assembly

14. CARAM Asia

15. Carefugees

16. CAREmart Sdn Bhd


18. Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

19. Center for Orang Asli Concerns

20. Challenges Foundation

21. Childline Foundation

22. Community Development Centre (CDC)

23. CRIB Foundation

24. Crisis Relief Services and Training (CREST) Malaysia

25. Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur

26. Development of Human Resources for Rural Areas (DHRRA), Malaysia

27. Dignity for Children Foundation

28. Eliminating Deaths And Abuse In Custody Together (EDICT)



31. Faith Free Market

32. Faithworks

33. Family Wellness Club, Ipoh, Perak

34. FIMA Advisory Council

35. Food Aid Foundation

36. Foreign Spouses Support Group

37. Gerak Malaysia

38. Global Shepherds

39. Good Shepherd Services

40. Health Equity Initiatives

41. HISTEAM 7979 Network

42. HPR Hope for Pakistani Refugees

43. Humanitarian Care Malaysia (MyCARE)

44. Islamic Medical Association Malaysia (IMAM)

45. Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)

46. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

47. Kajang Pastors Fellowship (KPF) Foodbank

48. Kechara Soup Kitchen Society

49. Kelab Rekreasi Pengasuh Malaysia (KRPM)

50. Kelab Sastera Mahasiswa UMS (KARMA)

51. #KitaJagaKita

52. Kiwanis Club of Damansara

53. Kiwanis Club of Tambun

54. KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

55. KL Urban Fellowship

56. KRYSS Network

57. KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific

58. The Lost Food Project

59. Majlis Belia Malaysia

60. Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Malaysia (MKKM)

61. Malaysian CARE

62. Malaysia Christian for Justice

63. Malaysian CSO SDG Alliance

64. Malaysian Dravidian Association

65. Malaysia Hindu Sangam Perak State

66. Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI)

67. Methodist Crisis Relief and Development (MCRD)

68. Muhibbah Food Bank Malaysia Society

69. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

70. Need to Feed the Need (NFN)

71. NGOhub

72. Onward Consulting

73. Our Journey

74. Palestinian Refugee Community

75. Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS Trust)

76. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)

77. Pertubuhan Bantuan Teknikal Insaf Malaysia

78. Persatuan Kebajikan Gemilang Johor Bahru

79. Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia

80. Persatuan Pendidikan Bajau Laut (Iskul Sama DiLaut Omadal)

81. Persatuan Pengasuh Berdaftar Malaysia

82. Persatuan Prihatin Komuniti Johor Bahru

83. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita (PWS) Selangor

84. Persatuan WeCareJourney


86. Pertubuhan HOPE Selangor

87. Pertubuhan Kebajikan Amal En Xin Negeri Sembilan

88. Persatuan Kebajikan Biji Sawi (Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen)

89. Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (SEED)

90. Pertubuhan Pembangunan dan Kemajuan Sekolah Tamil Malaysia (PPST)

91. Pertubuhan Pengurusan Pusat Jagaan 1 Malaysia

92. Pertubuhan Rangkaian Pembangunan Kesinambungan Malaysia (SUSDEN Malaysia)

93. Pertubuhan Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia

94. Pertubuhan Solidaritas

95. Pertubuhan Sukarelawan Harapan Malaysia (MOVE MALAYSIA)

96. Pertubuhan Titian Digital Malaysia (PTDM)

97. Pertubuhan Wadah Siswazah Islah Malaysia WASILAH

98. Philandure

99. Projek57

100. Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR)

101. The Pit Stop Community Cafe

102. PT Foundation

103. Pusat Jagaan Kanak-kanak Epileptik Klang

104. Pusat KOMAS

105. Refuge for the Refugees

106. Ruang Kongsi

107. Ruth Education Centre

108. Salam Relief

109. The Salvation Army

110. Samaritan Hope

111. Sandakan Muslim Volunteer (MUST)

112. SAWO

113. Soroptimist International Kota Kinabalu


115. Suara Mahasiswa UMS

116. Tanma Federation

117. Telugu Association of Malaysia

118. Tenaganita

119. Toy Libraries Malaysia

120. Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES)

121. World Vision Malaysia

122. WWF-Malaysia

123. Yayasan Amal ASAS

124. Yayasan Chow Kit

125. Yayasan Generasi Gemilang

126. Yayasan Foodbank Malaysia

127. Yayasan Kajian dan Pembangunan Masyarakat

Rebuilding Malaysia


  • Paul Wolfobitch says:

    Brazil: judge bans missionaries from indigenous reserve over Covid-19 fears
    Indigenous leaders and activists hailed ‘historic’ decision after three missionaries and controversial group barred

    May the Orang Aslis, too, be free from the kaypoh!

  • Paul Wolfobitch says:

    Amazing big list of “do gooders”.

    Sadly, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    A great one from Siti Kassim, townies had best butt out, leave the Orang Aslis be, they have survived for a damn long time in the jungles (until the Livingstones and the Stanleys came…), Siti quite rightly pointed out they have a huge supermarket there.

    More often than not efforts toward “saving” the Orang Aslis have been rather ignorant, patronising, condescending – and self-serving.

    If anyone wants to “help” the Orang Aslis, the best way is to first truly understand and know them, live among them and with them, don’t return to “civilisation” after one weekend, stay years, if not forever with them.

    To truly know someone, you need to wear their skin. I don’t mean you scalp the Orang Aslis first, you should be with them heart and soul and physically, be “them” not just be “like them”.

    Any other “help” is just superficial, fake, cheap, ego-tripping, and rather delusional.

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