GOPENG: The Health Ministry, together with the Education Ministry and Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa), is planning to educate the Orang Asli on the importance of proper nutrition.
Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said most Orang Asli were severely malnourished, thus affecting their health.
"We are worried about the level of malnourishment among the Orang Asli, especially children age five and below.
"It is one of the contributing factors that led to the deaths of the Kampung Kuala Koh Orang Asli in Kelantan," he said, adding that another factor was poor immune systems.
"People with proper nutrition might need up to seven days to recover from measles. In the Bateq community's measles outbreak, we found many of them – especially children – were suffering from malnutrition.
"Aside from getting them to have proper nutrition, my ministry will conduct research to help improve the level of immunisation among Orang Asli and also the public," he said this after attending a Hari Raya open house at SK Pos Raya near here on Friday (June 21).
The Bateq community of Kampung Kuala Koh came under the spotlight after the death of 15 of its people.
On June 17, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad announced that the disease affecting the community was measles.
On this matter, Dr Lee urged the public to get all the required immunisation.
"The ministry noticed that the Bateq community did not get their MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunisation that is usually given to babies aged nine months.
"We have built clinics in villages and some places are even equipped with mobile clinics where we had four-wheel-drive trucks and helicopters to provide medical assistance in rural areas.
"We hope everyone, including the Orang Asli, will make full use of this and get all necessary immunisations," he said.
On the cause of the recent air pollution in Pasir Gudang, Johor, Dr Lee said the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry would investigate the matter.
Pasir Gudang made headlines earlier this year when toxic chemicals dumped into Sungai Kim Kim in March caused pollution that affected residents and caused schools to be closed.
"Let us wait for the proper statement from the ministry before jumping to any conclusion.
"I was informed that we have eight patients receiving medical treatment due to the incident," he added.
It was reported that about 15 people, including 13 students from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar and Sekolah Kebangsaan Pasir Gudang 4 suffered breathing difficulties and vomiting.