Initial Study on Increasing Productivity of Orang Asli in by the300e

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									European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 8, Number 3 (2009)



        Initial Study on Increasing Productivity of Orang Asli
                              in Malaysia

                                    Mohd Nizam Ab Rahman
                  Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
                                  43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
                                 E-mail: mnizam@vlsi.eng.ukm.my
                             Tel: +603-89216449; Fax: +603-89259659

                                      Ruhizan Mohd Yasin
                  Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
                                 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

                                     Kamaruzzaman Sopian
                  Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
                                 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

                                     Ahmad Rasdan Ismail
                  Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
                                 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

                                        Juhari Ab Razak
                  Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
                                 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia


                                                Abstract
     Agricultural extension, community education and social development are three important
     areas to improve productivity and income for a better living. Meanwhile, the development
     of new and sustainable energy sources has become exciting challenges facing researchers,
     scientists and/or policy makers involved in developing renewable energy technologies,
     especially for rural area. This paper highlights an initial study of a potential for productivity
     and social aspects from the development of micro-hydro system for rural electrification in
     Malaysia. In this paper, the potential of productivity and social aspects are presented in
     three development issues: human and education, agricultural and productivity, as well as its
     impacts on sustainable developments. This study also offers some recommendations for
     further research with the aim of finding more solutions to improve the facilities and
     enhance the productivity of orang asli (aboriginal people) in Kampong Tuel, Gua Musang,
     Malaysia. The methods involved in this study were consisting of site visits, systems
     inspection, interviews and discussions with the people in community.


     Keywords: Renewable Energy, Micro hydro, Rural Area, Malaysia

1. Introduction
For many developing countries in Asia, agricultural sector is still the main employer, particularly in
rural area. Agricultural extension, community education and social development are three important
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areas to improve productivity and income for a better living. This can be achieved by enhancing people
capacity to make better-informed decision regarding adoption of new technologies, utilization and
maximization of systems provided, production management and marketing strategies. This paper
focuses on the development of new renewable energy system for enhancing the productivities of orang
asli (aboriginal people) in rural area. This area of study also focuses on the strategies that community
in rural area can adopt and, examines the future study that can be enhanced towards providing better
life and productivity of orang asli. The success of their development relies heavily on how well the
renewable system works in creating opportunities, and this include formal and informal assistances for
the community. One of the assistances is believed to be linked with better technology system, such as
through renewable energy (RE).
        The use of renewable energy sources involves the tapping of natural flows of energy in the
environment. Renewable also naturally go hand in hand with cleaner and more environmental friendly
forms of energy. The use of renewable energy for increasing people productivity and its development
shall contribute to environmental protection not only for the present generation but for future
generations as well. The development of new and sustainable energy sources has become exciting
challenges facing researchers, scientists and/or policy makers involved in developing RE technologies,
especially for rural area. The development and utilization of RE in rural area not only results in
environmental impacts but also confronts with the community issues. It has been suggested that social
impacts, economic benefits and cultural issues are an important criteria to meet the challenge of
sustainable energy development (Gan and Yu, 2008). Therefore, it would be interesting to review and
share an initial study on sustainable energy development for enhancing productivity of people in rural
area in Gua Musang, and as one of case studies from developing country, Malaysia.
        The population in Malaysia is now more than 25 million with a growth rate of around 2.0%.
Generally, there are three major ethnic groups in Malaysia; Malay, Chinese, and Indian. Malaysia is
entirely equatorial. The ambient temperature remains uniformly high throughout the year, between 27
and 34 °C, with an average daily solar radiation of 4500kWh per square meter and most locations have
a relative high humidity, within 70 to 90%. Kampong Tuel in Gua Musang is located nearly 350km
from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, was identified by the project team/study as an appropriate
location to implement this project at a rural community. The community consists of approximately 35
families.
        In the year 2000, Malaysian government has introduced the fifth Fuel Policy, which indentifies
RE as Malaysia’s fifth major fuel resource. A special committee on Renewable Energy (SCORE) has
been set up under the Ministry of Energy, Communications & Multimedia or Kementerian Tenaga, Air
& Komunikasi (KTAK, 2002) to coordinate, enhance and sustain the related RE programmes. The
government is now pursuing a wide range of strategies and policies to promote the development and
broader use of renewable energy technologies. Such activities include investment tax allowances and
the small Renewable Energy Program (SREP), which encourages the connection of small renewable
power generation plants, and the RE electricity producer will be given a license for a period of 21
years.
        There are many studies and reports/publications on the renewable energy. Many issues of
renewable energy have been raised, just to name a few, for example by its benefits i.e. sustainable
development (Gan and Yu, 2008); environmental, economic and social benefits (Krajnc and Domac,
2007); policy and measure (IEA, 2002); and economic impacts and appraisal techniques (Hanley and
Nevin, 1999). According to Kranjc and Domac (2007), socio-economic aspect studies are commonly
used to evaluate the implications of implementing any development decisions, including RE projects.
        This paper presents a study of a potential for productivity and social aspects development of
micro-hydro system for rural electrification in Malaysia. The study was done on the collaboration with
the Global Peace Malaysia (GMP) and the Solar Energy Research Institute or SERI UKM. Its primary
objective was to provide a better living and productivity for the aboriginal community at the Kampong
Tuel Gua Musang and it was totally funded by the government of Malaysia. The project was initiated

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in January 2007 and the first phase was completed in September 2007 with the operation of micro-
hydro system, and then followed by the development of a small factory to accommodate the
community with business and productivity activities, which it will be completed in this year. In this
paper, the potential of productivity and social aspects are presented in three development issues:
human and education, agricultural and productivity, as well as its impacts on sustainable developments.


2. Renewable Energy System
Renewable Energy has been defined in many ways, for example, the International Energy Association
(IEA) has defined renewable energy as “..energy from natural processes that are replenished
constantly”. Meanwhile, the UK Renewable Energy Association (REA) has suggested RE as “..energy
flows that occur naturally, repeatedly in the environment and can be harnessed for human benefits
(REA, 2004). Generally, it means fuel or natural sources that produce usable energy without depleting
resources and will be regenerated naturally; including solar, wind, biomass, hydro etc.

                               Figure 1: Solar PV Panel for Domestic Uses




        Currently there are two types of RE system available at this site, Solar PV panels and micro-
hydro turbine. Solar PV panels (Figure 1) have been installed at the village for several years now
providing electricity to the houses for domestic uses. Each house is supplied with a PV panel each
capable of 80 W nominal peak power with battery set. The electricity is enough to provide basic
lighting at night and for radio and television at a limited time. The micro-hydro turbine is targeted to
provide electricity to yet to-be completed income-earning factory for the community. The micro- hydro
turbine (Figure 2) produces 220 V AC voltage and 32 A current. The micro dam (Figure 3) is about 10
feet in depth and 15 feet across with 5 feet cut-of section for stream flow. It takes about 47 polypipes,
each of 6 m long to connect the dam to the turbine. The outside diameter of the pipe is 200 mm with a
thickness of 3 mm.




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                                  Figure 2: The Micro-Hydro Turbine




                                   Figure 3: The Micro-Hydro Dam




3. Results
This study based insights through information obtained from the experiences of those involved in this
project, i.e. GMP representatives, contractors as well as the key informants, people in community. The
methods involved in this study were consisting of site visits, systems inspection, interviews and
discussions with the people in community. A random interview was adopted with the people and the
interview began by asking respondents what benefits they got from the project, their awareness and
knowledge of micro-hydro system, problems and suggestions for system maintenance, their knowledge
of related business and productivity activities, and their general attitudes toward the development of
the project. In order to ensure that a good understanding was generated, the team has also conducted
the interview based on open-ended questions and it seemed to be an appropriate alternative to gain
more information.




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3.1. Human and Education Development
The interviews revealed that the communities in the area are happy with the system development.
However, they showed a very low level of knowledge on the systems know-how and related
productivity or business operation skills. Respondents appeared most unfamiliar with the concepts of
micro-hydro system. How it works and generates electricity. This contributes to the understanding of
maintenance systems. Therefore, training has to be effectively implemented based on the job; which
are involved the installation process, technical knowledge and more informal on-site training should be
planned throughout the project. This enables the community to enhance and understanding the system.
Communication and the concept of transferring new technology to the community would be
implemented step-by-step. It would be started by preparing basic knowledge medium through visual or
video demonstration as well as some cartoons or art works in helping the community to understand
more about the system. It then could be followed by various workshops or discussions to disseminate
the technologies and evaluate or monitor the project at the same time.

                             Figure 4: Children at Community Kindergarten




        In order to improve and sustain the project, educational foundation and education management
practices should be improved. Education opportunities for the young generation are essential in this
regard. By providing and encouraging the young people in the community to further continue their
studies should be the main criteria in their education management activity. The importance of
education and its ability to help growth of next generation are crucial for this community. The
foundation would be enhanced as early as possible and this can be implemented through any
interesting activities, for example at the children in Kindergarten (Figure 4). The numbers of young
people who do not continue at secondary school or complete their study are considerably a major issue
towards the implications of technology transfer and education development for this community.

3.2. Agricultural and Productivity
The communities are now actively planting bananas, tapioca and sweet potatoes for enhancing their
income. The micro-hydro project is purposely operated to meet the energy needs for the factory
operations. This will help the community to enhance their business activities and productivity, such as
producing bananas and sweet potatoes crisps. The factory (Figure 5) is scheduled to be fully operated
in this year. The study suggested that the problems might be relating to handling, storage and
transportation of the finished products to the market. Several strategies have been considered and may

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be used in parallel such as high quality storage system, training on business skills and chalet
development which offers outsiders come for domestic vacation.

                                    Figure 5: Factory Under Construction




        With supporting from the GMP, they are also planting rubber trees and it is expecting that in
the next three years, another source of income and employment will be generated. GMP has also
planned to develop some chalets for tourism activities. It must be stressed here however that tourism in
this rural area is still at a planning stage, but it will considerably and potentially improve benefits to the
community. It is the potential of some areas with waterfall to attract visitors in the future and thus
generate more income that could more importantly enhanced the development of RE sources and
business related activities in this area. As a result, factory can offer more banana and sweet potatoes
products to visitors. This situation enables the community to improve their business activities and
productivity, as well as transporting all community’s products to the market outside.




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                                   Figure 6: Area for Agriculture Plan




3.3. Sustainable Development
The community is basically understood what benefits they will gain from the project and hoped that it
will last longer. The success of sustainable development of this project is totally lies in continuous
support of environmental awareness and a strong feeling of ownership from people in the community.
Excessive usage of land will create another environmental problem. Throughout this study, an early
understanding of the development impacts that might be existed can identify more ways for enhancing
this project. Community awareness workshop on land-based sources and its management issue on
environment enable to reduce the risk of losing quality RE development in this area. The researchers
are now planning to include this program as early as possible, such as at the kindergarten level. Figure
6 shows one of location allocated for agricultural activities which now the community has also
discovered some other location to be used.
        Some particular interest in this project is that is it the community can continuously manage any
RE maintenance and development themselves? What a specific assistance should be provided? What
strategies could be implemented? Reasons given for the above questions included that the community
shall sustain their RE benefits and continuously supports the environment. The team has to solve these
issues throughout, and after the project. This case study and its potential new developments should
contribute to the sustainability, increasing the productivities and development of micro-hydro in other
rural areas in Malaysia soon.


4. Conclusion
At the time of writing, it is too early to determine the success of the project, but it appears promising
benefits. Another interesting factor of the project is that the aboriginal communities are willing to
participate and shows full commitment to this project, as they are normally known as an introvert
people. This study also offers some recommendations for further research with the aim of finding more
solutions to improve the facilities and productivity, such as how to convey the knowledge of technical
and business operations skills to this community. Perhaps, it is also important for the team to create an
assessment model that could be used easily and continuously to monitor the success of this project. The
assessment model would be based on socio-economic and environmental consequences, including
stakeholder analysis. Final results of this study would be interesting to be published soon in another
paper.


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References
[1]   Gan, L. and Yu, J., 2008. “Bio energy transition in rural China: Policy options and co benefits”.
      Energy Policy, Vol. 36, pp. 531-540.
[2]   Hanley, N. and Nevin, C., 1999. “Appraising renewable energy developments in remote
      communities: the case of the North Assynt Estate, Scotland”. Energy Policy, Vol. 27, pp. 527-
      47
[3]   IEA, 2002. “Dealing With Climate Change. Policies and Measures in IEA Members
      Countries”, International Energy association and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
      Development, OECD, France.
[4]   Kementerian Tenaga, Air & Komunikasi (KTAK), 2002. “Guidelines for the Promotional of
      SREP”, Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications, Kuala Lumpur.
[5]   Krajnc, N. and Domac, J., 2007. “How to model different socio-economic and environmental
      aspects of biomass utilization: Case study in selected regions in Slovenia and Croatia”, Energy
      Policy, Vol. 35, pp. 6010-6020.
[6]   REA, 2004. “The RPA Renewable Yearbook 2004”. Renewable Energy Association, United
      Kingdom.




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