DPM: Kuala Koh Orang Asli need access to clean water

Hazmat personnel from the Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department take water samples at the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang June 11, 2019. — Bernama pic
Hazmat personnel from the Kelantan Fire and Rescue Department take water samples at the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang June 11, 2019. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, June 26 — The quality of water for Kampung Kuala Koh’s Orang Asli in the Gua Musang community has to be improved, even if the source of the illness that had hit over 100 villagers was not due to water pollution or logging activities.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the relevant ministries had been instructed to address the issue in providing the Batek Orang Asli group with the basic necessities.

“I have raised in the Cabinet that their water source has to be improved even though there is no pollution. Although visually the river looks fine, it is not how it used to be (due to logging).

“As a government, we have to give the best water source as the Orang Asli’s basic needs have to be met... they are Malaysians as well,” Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development minister, said when met with reporters at a ministerial event, here today.

She said the recent third sample taken by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) had shown the same result as the previous tests.

She added the situation in the village has returned back to normal, based on reports and WhatsApp messages she received on the matter.

“Things have recovered, they can be seen playing the guitar and singing... their activities are back to normal,” she said.

The Health Ministry on June 17 revealed that the ailment afflicting dozens of the Batek Orang Asli, turned out to be measles.

Its laboratory results as of June 15 confirmed that 37 people from the same Gua Musang village tested positive for measles.

Health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said his ministry had dealt with 112 measles cases in the village since early June with the official death toll at three so far, though it believes the other 15 fatalities may be related.