INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Experiences from Malaysia and the Philippines


Jointly published in 2005 by
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Philippines
PACOS Trust (Sabah, Malaysia)
Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia
Anthrowatch, Philippines

as IWGIA Document no. 113
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
Copenhagen, Denmark

IWGIA 2005
ISBN: 87-91563-06-2
ISSN: 0105-4503
115 Pages. Illus., maps

US$ 16.00 / EUR 12.30
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to rest of the world: US$17.00

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Engagement in mainstream political processes and seeking participation in local government is an option increasingly taken up by indigenous peoples in order to regain more control over their lives and their destiny.

This volume presents the result of research on indigenous peoples' participation in local government in two Southeast Asian countries: the Philippines and Malaysia. The book compiles existing legislation affecting indigenous participation in local government in the two countries, and looks at concrete experiences with local governments. It identifies the problems and constrains for indigenous participation and also looks into indigenous women's present and potential role in local government institutions.

While there is an underlying common experience of ongoing dispossession, marginalization and weakening of traditional institutions due to state negligence, misguided policies and powerful vested interests, the case studies reveal enormous differences with respect to state policies and the possibilities for indigenous communities to constructively engage in local government.





Research Objectives, Concepts and Method
The Orang Asli - Origins and Administration
Results of Field Survey
Opinions of Orang Asli Outside the Fieldwork Area
Views from the JHEOA
Moving Forward

A Note on the Concept of Indigenous Peoples and Local 
Government within a Sabahan Context
Basic Information about Sabah 
Socio-Political Structure and Governance in Indigenous 
Communities in Sabah
Current Government Administrative Set-up and Indigenous 
Participation in Local Government
Indigenous Peoples' Experience with Participation in Local Government
Conclusion and Future Perspectives
Appendix 1: List of Respondents
Appendix 2: Introduction to the Study Areas

General Situation of Indigenous Peoples vis-a-vis Governance
Case Studies
The Need for Building Good Governance: Issues, Gaps and 
Challenges Ahead 
Recommendations from the Regional Workshops 
List of References and Data Sources 
Key Informants