Bauxite mine to pay RM37,000 in damages to families of drowned kids

KUANTAN: The Sessions Court today ordered the owner of an abandoned bauxite mining site in Taman Sungai Karang here to pay damages totalling RM37,620 to the families of three children who drowned there last year.

Judge Mohd Ghazali Mohamad Taib also ordered Ng Kok Yu, 42, to pay the families the cost and interest, which would be determined by the court later.

He made the order after hearing the testimony of seven witnesses in a negligence suit filed by the victims’ parents against Ng.

The plaintiffs were Mohd Shariff Awang Ngah and Norhabibah Aidir, both 50, who are the parents of Nureen Ain Juwita, 10; and Nor Azila Mudzafar Shah, 32, who is the mother of siblings Salsabila Zulkhairi, 12, and Mahathir Mohamad, 7.

On Feb 4, 2017, Salsabila, Mahathir and Nureen drowned while trying to retrieve a pair of pants from the disused mining pool filled with rainwater prior to the incident.

In the suit filed on Oct 29 last year, the plaintiffs, among others, claimed that Ng had failed to fence up the area to keep people from entering the site, did not erect any warning signs and failed to refill the disused mining pool with earth.

Nor Azila, when met outside the courtroom, said she was grateful for the judgment and hoped it would serve as a reminder to all parties, especially disused bauxite mine owners, to ensure safety at their mining areas.

“The suit is not about money, but as a reminder to other disused bauxite mine owners not to only think of making profits,” she said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Mohd Harris Abdullah, representing the plaintiffs, said he would appeal for the court to also award aggravated and exemplary damages.

Ng, who lives in Penang, was represented by lawyer Jeyasingam Balasingam.