Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Language, Education and Innovation 2015
ISBN 978-967-13140-9-8

Rights and Recognition of Indigenous Language in Malaysia Education System: The Case of Orang Asli

Mohd Roslan Rosnon

University of South Australia


This paper focuses on the ‘survival’ of Orang Asli language in the mainstream education system in Malaysia. Since UNDRIP takes place in the social-political environment in Malaysia, UNDRIP outlines several guidelines such as self-determination, rights and equity for their language and cultural which should be given to the Indigenous people. This research is based on a case-study exploratory approach, using qualitative methods of collecting data and used in-depth interview with several people respondents who have worked as policy makers, educational academics and NGOs. The interviews were based on the principle of saturation in which the informants have been interviewed until no new ideas were emerging. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and checked for content based on discourse analysis. The findings revealed that every person has the right to express themselves in the language of their ancestors, not just in the language of convenience like what Malay language has become. Through supporting language revival, government of Malaysia can appreciate the significance of Orang Asli languages and recognises their importance to the Orang Asli and to Malaysia through education and constitution. This is an example on how the government gives the language rights and recognition to Indigenous people. Therefore, the government should provide funding and mechanism in realizing this matter by providing trained teachers who master the language of the Orang Asli so that the wish in the Article 14 can be fulfilled. Policy Education for Orang Asli must therefore be considered on the basis of recognition and understanding and promotion of human rights specifically the rights to language and cultural identity in which it can also contribute to the pluralist societies.


Orang Asli, Language, Cultural, Rights, Recognition, Equity, Education

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