Kampung Alab Lanas

This village in the interior is five hours from Kota Kinabalu. It has around 560 villages according to a 2008 survey. Most of the villagers earn a living by planting padi, rubber trees or oil palm.

However, the government has been giving away their land to a corporation, which has cut down a huge area of forests and turning them into oil palm plantations.

The village also face problems with electricity as they have to pay RM800 or more for technicians to connect the wires (for two lights and a socket only) to their homes.

Life is tough, but at least they still have a river to cheer things up!

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The villagers, mostly orang Sungai, practice a system called tagal. Under this system, everyone is forbidden from catching any living beings in the river for a certain amount of time, for example three years, or they would be cursed.

The system protects the river’s ecosystem and allow its marine life to grow without interruption for the next few years.

After finding out more about the village, one of the participants—Uma (below, right) from the Women’s Aid Organisation—spoke to the indigenous women about women’s rights and their right to be free from all violence including domestic violence.

Participants also showed villagers a video of Bersih 2.0 and the importance of clean and fair elections. Lena (centre) from Pusat Komas gave a short commentary to help villagers understand the issues at stake.