PETALING JAYA: A huge search party of 450 are looking for seven missing orang asli children in a targeted 20km radius from the point they were last seen.
Orang Asli Development Department director-general Datuk Hasnan Hassan said he believed the area covered was extensive enough.
“How far can eight and 11-year-olds go? We believe the total number of personnel and assets deployed is big enough for us to make the search a successful one,” he said.
Organisations involved in the search include the Armed Forces, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Civil Defence Department, the Education Department and Rela.
More than 100 volunteers, many of whom are local orang asli, are also looking for the children who disappeared on Aug 23.
The children, aged from eight to 11, are believed to have wandered into a forest reserve.
Asked about talk among locals that supernatural forces had a hand in keeping the children from being found, Hasnan said he did not think so.
“If that’s the reason, then it is really out of our control,” he said.
Hasnan did not rule out the possibility that the children ran away because they feared punishment after being told off for swimming in a river.
“However, we have to be fair to the teachers. It is their responsibility to advise students not to endanger themselves,” he said.
He said there had been no new clues since a sock belonging to one of the children was discovered near the Sungai Mas bridge in Simpang Gemala.