Alternative Livelihood Schemes for Merapoh Communities
Alternative Livelihood Schemes for Merapoh Communities
The Malay villagers and the Orang Asli Bateq of Merapoh depend on small businesses, forest products and eco-tourism sector to thrive. With the absence of these jobs that has been affected by the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) and the subsequent decline of tourists and effects on the supply chain, most villagers especially who depends on tourism sector are left with very minimal jobs and thus are in a difficult state of having to depend on aid. As for the Orang Asli Bateq, the dependence on the forest is limited as plants such as wild tapioca and other forest products are harder to come by. These have brought up the concerns on the food security issues shall the community affected by economic or environmental conflicts in future.

On top of that, it is observed that another factor that contributes to this issue is lack of alternative livelihood resources and opportunity available for the community in the area. While the men substantially earn for their family, women and youths of the family should be given the opportunity to provide additional income to the family too. Hence, the whole proposed plan will mobilize the entire community system to actively participate in the alternative livelihood schemes through the Plot for Self-Sustainability and Fish Sanctuary Schemes. This will allow more sustainable and secured food resources for the Malays and Orang Asli Bateq in Merapoh.

Parallel to that, by integrating their traditional knowledge on agriculture and aquaculture, these values could be documented to preserve the knowledge so they next generation could still utilize and retain the knowledge. With these added values, it can be added in the ecotourism package for tourist to learn about their traditional way of living that will expand their income generation in sustainable ecotourism.

In-lined to sustainability, retaining cultural preservation is an important element to reflect and ensure the traditional knowledge and cultures flow in the generations. Development and various assimilation programmes eroding the cultural and heritage practiced especially among the youths of Bateq. To sustain their lives, they need to generate fast income from other industry, hence making them unable to commit in learning about their culture. Preservation measures need to be introduced in terms of commercializing cultural products, improving and empowering Bateq skills, providing significant exposures, encouragement incentives, through the establishment Community Centre for them to utilize for their communal and capacity building purpose. These measures acts as a medium for their culture and heritage continuity for the knowledge and reference for future generation, as well as to attract more research visitors for conservation efforts and tourists in terms of sustainable ecotourism approach.

Strategy 1: Community-based Plot-for-Self-Sustainability (PSS)

Objective: Sustainable and eco-farming using Plot-for-Self-Sustainability (PSS) method is introduced to the community for them to sustainably produce the herbs and plants for their daily consumption and trading.

PSS is an initiative to educate and train the community on how to sustainably cultivate their crops without using intensive chemicals or even fire for land clearing in order to grow their daily crops. In this area, some villagers have resorted in small-scale planting on durian, banana and coconut but these activities are not properly sustained due to lack of maintenance and knowledge on farming. This initiative could improve food-sufficiency and guarantee food security for the families, as the community can grow their suitable and preferred own crops systematically with the facilitation from the experts, share the products among the community and sell the excess to local markets to generate additional incomes. Managing a sustainable food security in this community is crucial as the lack of access to their traditional food source; the community tend to opt for commercial food products that come in plastic packaging that eventually cause further uncontrolled solid waste generation.

The main plot is planned to be managed and participated by the local Malays in Kg. Merapoh, where we aim to engage mainly low-income ladies to represent their families in the plot since most women in the village are housewives not earning at the moment. This plan will alleviate the borderline poverty issues in Merapoh, especially families who are affected by Covid-19. Meanwhile, another sub-plot will be developed at the Bateq village too as they sustain their lives from forest products, and the degradation of forested area for their foraging on has practically affected their source of consumption. The plot for Bateq village will be conducted in a smaller scale considering their low number of villagers as compared to the local Malays in Kg. Merapoh. This initiative also provides equal opportunity for both genders to participate especially the women.

As most men in the area gain their incomes as forest guides, plantation workers and construction labors, majority of women are not working, especially the female teenagers and youths. By participating in the initiative, they could add or gain extra incomes for themselves and the family. Parallel to that, by integrating their traditional knowledge on herbs agriculture, these values could be documented to preserve the knowledge so they next generation of could still utilize and retain the indigenous knowledge. With these added values, it can be added in the ecotourism package for tourist to learn about their traditional way in agriculture that will expand their income generation in sustainable ecotourism.

Strategy 2: Community-based Fisheries Management via Fish Sanctuary (Tagal) System

Objective: Restoring the depleting fisheries resources, keep the rivers free from pollution, and generate income via trading and eco-tourism to the communities concerned.

Tagal is a traditional system of forest stewardship was therefore adapted for the protection, restoration, conservation and management of the freshwater fishery resources. “Tagal System”, which literally means “fishing in rivers is prohibited by the concerned communities for a certain pre-agreed period of time” aims to restore the depleting fisheries resources, keep the rivers free from pollution, and generate income to the communities concerned. Under this system however, concerned communities are still allowed to harvest fish from the rivers but in a sustainable manner. The responsibilities of the communities are mainly to protect their respective fish stocks from poachers, overfishing, illegal fishing and any other activities that could pollute the rivers and water bodies, and destroy the fish habitats. In Peninsular Malaysia, The Department of Fisheries has also initiated a similar programme called “Santuari Ikan” and this programme is bounded to Pahang Fisheries Act, where interested and potential local villages will be facilitated with in-kinds contribution to execute the programme. In Lipis district, there are three existing Fish Sanctuaries located in Kuala Serau (more than 10 years of operation by local communities) and Lubuk Kulit, both located near Sungai Koyan area, and Tanjung Gahai with river flows from Sungai Jelai.

This programme is planned to target Indigenous Bateq and the neighbouring Malay village called Kg. Teluk Gunung for them to work closely in managing the project. Sahabat Raja Rimba, a newly established community NGO based in Kg. Teluk Gunung will be our partner for this program as they are interested in community-based program such as this proposed fish sanctuary. The area proposed for this project is in Persit River, where this river is known as the fishing ground for the locals here. The river flows from the Persit Forest Reserve where this forest has been gazetted as water catchment forest by the Forestry Department of Lipis. This initiative also indirectly will help to monitoring the riparian buffer and river water quality as the system require a strict quality in physical, chemical and biological for producing the best fish spawning ground. Such monitoring activities will include wildlife monitoring as a form of documentation of the successful restoration of river quality in areas where fish sanctuaries are initiated.

Overall, these strategies are planned in order to achieve a significant participation by local communities including the Indigenous people where the proposed initiatives could potentially secure sustainable incomes for their livelihoods. All projects will be complimented with intensive capacity building in order to equip and empower them with suitable skills and knowledge.

Project Snapshot

Pertubuhan Konservasi Alam Sekitar dan Komuniti (Malayan Rainforest Station, MRS)
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 39,998.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 7,125.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 5,000.00
Project Number:
Currently under execution

Grantee Contact

Phone: +6013-3205710


Lot 4015, Kg. Gua Layang, 27200 Merapoh, Lipis, Pahang.
Lipis , Pahang , 27200

SGP Country office contact

Ms. Shin Shin, Lee
603-8689 6055
Ms. Nurul Fitrah Mohd Ariffin Marican


Level 10, Menara PJH, No.2, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Precinct 2,
Putrajaya, 62100

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