Accepted Paper:

Sedentarization and population growth of Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia  

Author:

Shingo Odani (Chiba University)

Paper short abstract:

This study focuses on the demographic dynamics of an Orang Asli community in Peninsular Malaysia. Their TFR ranges from 6.85 to 9.05, suggesting rapid population growth. Analysis of their behavior and circumstances indicates that sedentrarization and subsistence transition relate to population growth.

Paper long abstract:

This study focuses demographic dynamics of an Orang Asli community in Peninsular Malaysia, in relation to sedentarization and subsistence transition. The subjects are the Bateq and the Mendriq in Pos Lebir "village" in the state of Kelantan. They had been reported nomadic hunter gatherer, however, under the relocation policies have been forced to sedentarize. In the past hunting and gathering were practiced for their daily consumption, while in recent hunting and gathering are conducted for cash earning.

Such sedentarization and subsistence transition will influence behavioral factors of reproduction, for example female activities are limited around the permanent "village". Changes in behavioral factors will effect on population growth. In addition, nutritional statuses have changed because of subsistence transition, and hygiene statuses have improved by health services provided with sedentarization such as preventive injection.

At first, their demographic features were analyzed, referring the censuses of Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli and Jabatan Purankaan. However, censuses of two departments often mismatched caused by various factors. Participant observation and direct interview complemented the mismatch data. As results, TFR ranges from 6.85 to 9.05, suggesting rapid population growth in this community.

Comparison of these features with quantitative and qualitative data of their behavior and circumstances indicates that sedentrarization and subsistence transition relate to population growth. Reviewing preceding studies, population dynamics of hunter gatherers in modern world are discussed. In addition, problems accompanied by population growth, such as unemployment or conflicts of land will be discussed.

Panel P038
Sedentarization and concentration among nomadic peoples (Commission on Nomadic Peoples/NME panel)