From Dr Lokman Hakim, via e-mail
In response to your article, “Unprofessional Health Ministry comes under fireā on Aug 9, 2012, I would like to point out that the Health Ministry did not claim that everything is normal but rather our study done early this year shows the presence of illness to be in the normal range.
Nonetheless, we take note that BCAC is deeply concerned for the community of Bukit Koman as their study showed a higher rate of illness.
Because of the different results shown by the two studies, the Health Ministry met with the Pahang Raub Anti-Cyanide Gold Mine Committee Vice Chairman and both parties agreed to take part in a joint study using a mutually agreed study protocol. The outcome will be honoured by both parties.
It must be noted here that the design of the study must be scientific and of sound methodology in order that the results are not disputable. And if we need to ascertain the cause of the ill health, a series of investigations and tests will be needed. This will require time.
A health survey will also be carried out this weekend by a team comprising skin specialists and family health specialists as a preliminary assessment of the health complaints of the Bukit KomanĀ residents in response to their claims above.
In conclusion, the Health Ministry is still probing into the claims made by the Bukit Koman residents and hope that the coming joint study will establish the truth about their health status.
Dr Lokman Hakim is Deputy Director General, Health Ministry.