The Plight of Orang Laut (Part 1)

Kampong Orang Laut Bakar Batu comprises of 30 families with 140 residents. Their main source of income is fishing. The deforestation and pollution from the vast development of the Danga Bay and Highway construction project in ten years ago has seriously affected the Orang Laut’s income. There has no big fishes or crabs due to the highly polluted water. The average daily income of the residents in this area is about RM10.00.  Some of the residents even have to be scrap metal collectors after their daily fishing chores in order to keep pace with the high living cost.

Kais Bin Kee , 48, the Tok Batin of Kampong Bakar Batu is fully aware of the plight of his fellow folks.  He even initiated a vegetable farming project few years ago.  Due to the poor quality of soil, the project failed after three attempts. Kais is currently running a mini provision shop in the neighbourhood with the financial assistance from the local  government.  He hopes that the housing scheme that was promised by the local government in few months ago will materialize.

Most of the children are not school going as they do not own a legal birth certificate.  Some children who have the opportunity to go to school decided to quit as they cannot cope with the study. The Orang Laut hope that the local government will seriously look into their plight by providing them with skill training and education opportunity.

Video & Story by MK Ong & Lee-Jean, Citizen Journalists