THE Jakun Orang Asli who settled in Muadzam Shah, Pahang worked as rubber tappers or collected wood to generate income, while the children also worked at a nearby watermelon farm.
However, jobs have been difficult to come by for the tribesmen after the movement-control order (MCO) was put in place on March 18, and some villagers had started planting their own vegetables for food security.
Fatimah was one of those affected as she used to collect bertam wood to make furniture for sale, but demand dried up due to cross-border travel restrictions.
Meanwhile in Kg Jerampak, 10km away from Muadzam Shah, Nordin planted a small vegetable garden for food.
The garden grew big enough for him to let fellow villagers take food for free, while the remainder were sold to plantation workers staying near his home.
Apart from the Bantuan Prihatin by the government, the villagers receive relief from the Department of Orang Asli Development and the Global Peace Foundation.
The villagers are not just afraid of the virus, but are also wondering about their future as the recovery of their health and economic prospects will take a long time. – August 21, 2020.