KUALA LUMPUR: It is a challenge to ascertain the cause of deaths among the Orang Asli Bateq community in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, due to the incomplete remains recovered by authorities, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
According to Dr Lee, the remains that was collected from the jungle were only bones, adding that there wasn’t much body tissue collected to carry out a post-mortem.
“It makes the confirmation of the cause of death more difficult in this case. But more importantly, we want to make sure there is no criminal element in the deaths of these 12 Orang Asli,” he said.
Dr Lee was speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby on Monday (July 8).
Dr Lee was responding to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who said on July 6 that only three deaths among the Orang Asli in Kuala Koh, were due to complications from measles.
However, the police couldn’t ascertain the cause of death in the other 12 Orang Asli, said Dr Dzulkefly.
Dr Lee also explained the reason behind the delays on the post-mortems, saying it was difficult to retrieve the bodies of the deceased due to the traditional ritual of which the Orang Asli were buried.
“It is a normal practice in the community to send those patients who are sick away from the community.
“When the patient dies, they actually have a special way of disposing the bodies. The whole incident only came about after several reports, revealing that there were many fatalities,” he said.
Previously, it was reported that the dead bodies of the Orang Asli Bateq community in Gua Musang were placed on top of trees, as part of the tradition of the community.