APU and IIUM Empowering Indigenous Communities Through Eco-Tourism

Discover how APU’s initiative fosters effective communication skills among 250 residents of Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Panjang in Johor for eco-tourism.

Updated 03 Oct 2023


In a heartwarming initiative, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)’s School of Marketing and Management (SoMM) recently embarked on a mission to empower indigenous communities. The project was launched in collaboration with the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

The heart of this project was to equip the indigenous participants living in Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Panjang, Muar, Johor with the communication skills to promote successful sustainable eco-tourism. The idea was to enable them not only to share their rich cultural heritage but also to convey the deep significance and importance of their traditions to tourists.


The APU team of 7 volunteers consisted of 6 students — Anusha Albert Edise Nelson, Chong Eu Meng, Eric Ee Yang Lim Jr., Gautamm Geeva Nathan and Ryan Lim Yi Ren — and SoMM lecturer Dr. Nor Azrul Mohd Zin. 

Dr. Nor Azrul and his team recognised that effective communication goes beyond words — it involves nurturing self-esteem, interpersonal skills and overall development. To achieve this, they used simulations that provided hands-on experiences for the learners. During these simulations, the Jakun people assumed roles to engage in conversations and cultural exchanges with hypothetical tourists simulated by APU students. This practical approach allowed them to refine their skills in a controlled and supportive environment.

These efforts significantly boosted the participants' confidence in their ability to communicate effectively with tourists. This newfound confidence translated into assurance in their capacity to engage with real tourists. Additionally, these exercises served as a motivating factor. The indigenous Jakun people were inspired to actively interact with tourists, knowing they could create memorable and meaningful encounters based on their newfound skills and experiences.


For the APU volunteers involved in this CSR project, it wasn't just about giving back, but also about gaining real-life exposure to their study modules. They had the unique opportunity to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-world scenario. 

This project led by SoMM at APU reminds us that education and compassion can truly empower communities and create positive change. Through effective communication and hands-on experiences, the indigenous Jakun people are not only preserving their cultural heritage but also contributing to sustainable eco-tourism. 

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    Kirrthana Chandran

    Kirrthana Chandran

    If people were flowers, I am definitely a sunflower