The Orang Laut (Sea Gypsies) settled in Kampung Sungai Arang, Gelang Patah, Johor during the Japanese Occupation. Presently there are about a thousand occupants in the area.
According to Acting Tok Batin, Tolan Bin Bting, 60, the Sea Gypsies do not get much assistance from the government.
Every few years each family managed to get two to three packets of rice a year.
Besides fishing, their livelihood depends on catching crabs. But the government has eliminated most of the mangrove swamps, which are rich in crabs and prawns, by dumping earth in the area.
So their usual catch has dropped from 8 to 10 kilos of crabs to about 2 kilos. Their livelihood is being so threatened, that they can’t even pay their electricity bills.
Video by: Christine Leong, Citizen Journalist Malaysia