KOTA BARU, June 16 —The Kelantan Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Maik) will undertake the full cost of burial of 14 Orang Asli of the Batek tribe, both Muslims and non-Muslims who are believed to have died since early May.
Maik deputy president Dr. Nik Mohd Azlan Abd Hadi said the Muslims will be buried according to Islamic funeral practices after the identification process by relevant agencies at the Kuala Koh Muslim Cemetary, Gua Musang.
“All the cost of burial will be borne fully by Maik. This also applies to non-Muslim Orang Asli who will be buried according to their respective tribe customs,” he said when contacted here today.
He explained the bodies of Muslim Orang Asli would be buried soon after the post-mortem and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests were conducted.
“With assistance from the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa), we will check the data to find out whether they (Orang Asli) had converted to Islam, and if there was any, we need to refer to the villagers first for confirmation.
“This is important to ensure whether they have converted to Islam or not,” he said.
Previously, 12 out of the 14 Orang Asli bodies who were believed to have died due to a mysterious illness, were buried according to Batek tribe customs by placing their bodies on the tree.
It was understood that eight bodies including children were brought out of the jungle while the police are expected to bring out four more bodies today.
A crisis has hit the Batek people in Kampung Kuala Koh whereby within a space of a month 14 people from the village died of mysterious circumstance.
The cause or causes of the deaths had yet to be ascertained but the victims were reported to be suffering from breathing difficulties. A pneumonia outbreak is suspected. — Bernama