To date, most studies of Malaysia’s aboriginal people, the Orang Asli, have studied the community in either the rural or forest settings. This book, however, outlines the dynamics of Orang Asli migration to Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia’s most urbanised region – and explores the lived experiences of these individuals in the urban space. The book begins by charting the history of the Orang Asli under British colonial rule followed by the community’s experiences under the Malaysian government, in an attempt to provide a deeper understanding of the economic and social complexities facing the Orang Asli today. Based on extensive original research, the book goes on to discuss the interesting changes taking place among urban Orang Asli migrants with regards to gender dynamics, while exploring the unique ways in which these urban indigenous migrants maintain close links with their home communities in the rural spaces of Peninsular Malaysia. The book concludes by assessing how research on the urban Orang Asli fits into broader studies of urban and contemporary indigeneity in both Malaysia and abroad.

chapter 1|20 pages

Introduction to the Orang Asli

chapter 2|29 pages

Early and recent Orang Asli history

chapter 3|17 pages

From the settlements and into the city

Investigating Orang Asli experiences

chapter 4|8 pages

Contextualising indigeneity

chapter 5|22 pages

Orang Asli and the question of gender

chapter 6|17 pages


The fragmentation of egalitarianism among the Orang Asli