Orang Asli which literally means ‘Original people’ or ‘Natural people’ is the generic term used for the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia. Officially there are three main Orang Asli group in Malaysia, the Negritos, generally confined to the Northern part of the peninsular, the Senoi which usually resides in the central region and the Proto-Malay, which can be found in the Southern region.
The Negritos are regarded as the earliest inhabitants of the Malay Peninsular. This picture of a beautiful mother and daughter of the Jahai tribe, (a sub-group of the Negritos), was taken in the Royal Belum Rainforest Reserve. There are only about 1,244 members of this Jahai tribe residing deep in the rainforest of Peninsular Malaysia today.
Experts in the ways of the jungle, they are traditionally animist, where they believe in the presence of spirits in various objects. Now many of them have embraced monotheistic religions such as Islam and Christianity, following active ‘dakwah’ by Muslims and evangelism by Christian missionaries.