When Orang Asli cultural traditions are reduced to mere artefacts


Mustafa K. Anuar

Tenaga Nasional's move to preserve the Orang Asli's cultural objects in a mini gallery to compensate for the destruction, of their ancestral land due to the planned construction of the Nenggeri hydro-electric dam in Gua Musang, Kelantan may tempt others, such as developers, to exploit this creative strategy to pursue their own vested interests. – Dam News en Facebook pic, June 16, 2022.

IN WHAT seemed like an attempt to appease angry and horrified Orang Asli communities who opposed a planned construction of the Nenggeri hydro-electric dam in Gua Musang, Kelantan, Tenaga Nasional (TN) general manager for Kelantan and Terengganu Mustaphakamal Yaakob reportedly stated that the electric utility company would build a mini gallery in which salvaged indigenous cultural artefacts from the affected areas would be collected and displayed for public viewing.

The RM5 billion project, which is expected to cater to the renewable energy needs of Peninsular Malaysians beginning 2027, would span across 18 villages and affect about 1,185 residents because parts of their ancestral land would then be submerged in water.


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