MB: Orang asli death claims a serious matter

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 26 Nov 2015

IPOH: Claims that orang asli children are dying due to the mysterious “serawan” disease in the Royal Belum rainforest cannot be taken lightly.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the issue involved the lives of children and as such, a team led by state health committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon would go to the village at Sungai Kejar in the rainforest today.

“We need to get a clearer picture of what is going on and verify the story,” he said.

The issue was first highlighted in The Star after a team from the R.AGE section went to the Jahai tribe’s village.

“We immediately set up the team as we need to get to the bottom of the issue and address it,” he told reporters after the state executive council meeting at his office here yesterday.

Dr Zambry said the other team members included the state Health Department officers, Temengor assemblyman Salbiah Mohamed and the Orang Asli Development Department.

He also said the media team that broke the story should follow the team into the rainforest.

“We don’t want to sideline the team that got the story, but want them to come along instead to ensure proper transparency.

“I am hoping that with the trip, we will be able to get information and the actual situation,” he added.

Dr Zambry said he knew the tribe and their leader well and had visited them a couple of times, but had never heard of such claims before.

The R.AGE team reported on multiple child deaths among the Jahai tribe at Sungai Kejar related to “serawan”, a strange disease which the villagers say starts with white spots in the mouth and kills within days.

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