Let’s get to know one of our farmers, Manan, a hardworking and progressive man in his early 30s. His life-story is typical of the plights of many orang asli who want to provide a better future for their family.
Prior to joining the OA Organics farm in August 2017, Manan worked for an owner of an oil palm holding. He worked long hours, starting at 6 a.m. and finishing near midnight. Mornings and afternoons were spent harvesting oil palm fruit and loading them onto lorries. Evenings, from 5 p.m., involved catching free-range chickens for his employer’s other business.
Manan was paid RM800 per month. After deductions for food, accommodation and other expenses, he only had a RM200 take-home pay.
The last straw came when his son met with an accident and fractured his thigh. With no extra cash at hand, Manan turned to his employer for help. He was given RM15 for petrol. On pay day, he was crestfallen that his employer had deducted from him RM15 plus a full-day wage for taking a day off to take his son to the hospital. By then, Manan had worked there for one year. It hit him then that there was no real future if he continued with the job; he decided to quit.