Who are the Jah Hut?
he Jah Hut (Jah and Hut are two separate words meaning “people” and “no”) are one of the nineteen original Orang Asli people groups of Peninsular Malaysia. The government classifies them under the Senoi subgroup. Jah Hut villages are located in the foothills of the Jerantut and Temerloh districts of Pahang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan.
they have little control over the conditions of their employment—they must take what they can get—they are often cheated out of portions of their earnings. On the surface they seem to have an increase in the level of cash income. This observation, however, does not take into account the destruction of the free traditional economies in the forest that benefited them in the past.
What are their lives like?
n the past, the Jah Hut people collected rattan and resin from the jungle to sell to outsiders. Like the Mah Meri, they were also known for their fine woodcarving skills. They depended on the forest for building and craft materials—such as poles, bamboo, and thatch for houses and straw or fiber for mats. They used to have a profitable woodcarving industry. However, with the effect of constant relocation and outside parties seizing their land and forests, this rural population is left without a subsistence base. Lacking land, trees, or forest produce, the only thing they have to generate income is their labor. Today, they have few job options. With limited education and skills, they are generally engaged in the lowest of jobs with little prospect for job improvement or job satisfaction. Ironically, the most readily available jobs for them are in the very industries that displaced them: logging and various plantations. The Jah Hut are a group of unskilled workers scrounging these days for a living in Malaysian society. They usually work on a contract basis or as pieceworkers rather than as salaried employees....
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