The Challenges

The Orang Asal, Sabah's Indigenous People
The state of Sabah, in which TONIBUNG is based, is Malaysia’s most natural resource-rich, yet is its poorest economically. A majority of these poor also comprise a bulk of the large indigenous minority, 45 percent of the state’s population.   The main indigenous groups in Sabah are the Kadazan-Dusun, the seafaring Bajau, and the Murut, who dwell in the forests of Sabah’s interior.  Many of these Indigenous peoples are rural subsistence hunters, gatherers and farmers who, although poor, have developed complex resource management systems that ensure their food security through sustaining and conserving local ecosystems. Unfortunately, many of their forested lands are continually under threat of being lost to development projects in the form of mega-dams, mining, timber, and monoculture crop concessions. There is an ever-pressing need for development initiatives that do not negatively impact the local ecosystem, while embracing the traditional values of local people.

Members from many of the tribes of both Sabah and Sarawak are engaged in a struggle for their rights- what most would consider to be basic human rights.  If you are interested in learning more about the indigenous struggle visit one of the links below, or continue to our partners section.

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