GUA MUSANG, June 14 2019 : Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the pneumonia outbreak among Orang Asli from the Batek tribe in Kampung Kuala Koh here was not due to a nearby manganese mining activity.
She said the test results released by the Chemistry Department on June 12 showed that the overall quality of water in the sampling area, that is in Lebir river, was in compliance with the National Water Quality Standard for Raw Water.
“The June 12 results also found no pollution from palm oil waste, pesticides and herbicides.
“Investigations carried out by the Department of Environment also found no manganese mining waste disposal at Felda Aring 10, which is located about 10 kilometres from the Orang Asli settlement in Kuala Koh.”
She said this to reporters after visiting the area and being briefed about the situation at the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) operation centre at Dewan Felda Aring 10 here today.
However, Dr Wan Azizah said the government through the Ministry of Health would continue trying to find the actual cause of the pneumonia outbreak in the Orang Asli settlement.
“This is a new phenomenon which has never occurred among the Orang Asli community before. We want to know the cause of the outbreak which has resulted in sudden deaths of the Orang Asli because we have also found out that they have been facing chronic health issues over the recent years.
“The lab test results are expected to be available soon as they (investigation team) are in the midst of identifying the microorganisms from the samples taken from the patients and the bodies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said the government was also mulling ways to help the Orang Asli community to live a better life.
“One of the reasons is because their foraging area has become smaller, causing them to get less source of protein to the extent of facing malnutrition. They are also losing their source of income because of that.
“That’s why we have to think about how to solve the issues of modernisation and poverty affecting the Orang Asli,” she said. – Bernama