For the second time in less than two years, the Batek from the small village of Kampung Aring 5 have made the news in Malaysia. The village is located in the town of Gua Musang.

A view of the town of Gua Musang (Photo by Straitgate in Wikimedia, Creative Commons license
A view of the town of Gua Musang (Photo by Straitgate in Wikimedia, Creative Commons license

The Malay Mail reported on May 29 that 50 Batek individuals from that village have registered to get Covid 19 vaccinations. The head of the village, Raina Anjang, told the press that the manual registration process was handled by JAKOA, the Orang Asli Development Department of the Malaysian government.

The news story reported that the process “went smoothly.” Raina added that the villagers had been afraid of registering but when they received detailed information about the vaccination process a lot of people changed their minds. Many of those who signed up to get the shots are seniors and young people.

Another villager expressed appreciation to JAKOA for providing information about registering for a vaccination. While the people do follow the news about the pandemic in Malaysia, and they do adhere to the precautions such as social distancing advised by the government, they were not sure how to get vaccinated. They were grateful for the help from the government.

Kampung Airing 5 was in the news just over 18 months ago when a herd of wild elephants for unknown reasons attacked and mostly destroyed their water system. Village leaders said that the community of 300 did not have sufficient funds to repair the water pipes themselves so they would have to appeal to JAKOA for financial support to fix the damage.

It appears from these two news reports as if the Batek, at least those in Kampung Aring 5, are aware of the value of connecting with the government when the need arises.