Govt to investigate claims water pollution caused pneumonia among orang asli

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 09 Jun 2019

GUA MUSANG (Bernama): The Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry will investigate claims that water pollution has caused the orang asli community in Kampung Kuala Koh to suffer from pneumonia.

Its Deputy Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji said a thorough investigation would be carried out to identify the cause of the bacterial infection that has affected the orang asli community here, resulting in multiple fatalities.

He said that as of now, there is no confirmation of water pollution and samples would be collected from the water sources used by the community.

The Ministry also viewed the claims by the orang asli villagers seriously and had collected much relevant information so it could make the best decision to address the problem.

"We have been conducting visits to review all the issues raised by the community," he said after a visit to the settlement of the Batek tribe of the orang asli community here on Sunday (June 9).

Meanwhile, in KUALA KRAI, the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) will provide logistics, especially transport facilities, to government agencies to investigate the issue.

Its director-general Prof Dr Juli Edo said Jakoa would work closely with various agencies, especially claims that the alleged water pollution was due to iron ore mining activities in the nearby area.

"Jakoa is planning to supply raw water to the residents as an initial aid to them following allegations that their water sources had been polluted.

"We hope the disease is not contagious," he said when met by reporters after visiting 10 orang asli patients at the Kuala Krai Hospital here.

Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waytha Moorthy and Kelantan Pakatan Harapan chairman Senator Datuk Husam Musa.

Juli said some 196 indigenous people of Batek tribe involving 52 families lived in Kuala Koh.

He said thus far, he received two official reports involving the death of orang asli who migrated from Pahang to Kelantan while another 12 deaths were not reported as their bodies were buried according to their customs. – Bernama

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