Orang Asli MP wants panel to probe Gua Musang deaths

Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor.

PETALING JAYA: The nation’s first Orang Asli MP today proposed a special committee to probe the deaths of members of the Bateq tribe in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

Ramli Mohd Nor said the committee should comprise professionals in the related fields and be set up either at the parliamentary or government level.

“They should identify the cause of this tragedy and come up with solutions,” the Cameron Highlands MP said in a statement.

On Sunday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy confirmed that 14 Orang Asli villagers had died.

It was reported that the 14 had died presumably from pneumonia over the past month.

Earlier today, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad ruled out chemical poisoning as causing the death of two Orang Asli and infecting another 99 at the Kampung Koh Orang Asli settlement.

Dzulkefly said it was “safe to say” the duo had succumbed to pneumonia.

Ramli also said he had prepared questions – to be raised in Parliament next month – for several ministries, including the health ministry, and the Prime Minister’s Department over the tragedy.

He said this would allow Malaysians, especially the Orang Asli community, to gauge policies that are supposedly drawn up to help the community.

“We will be able to see, from their answers, if they are merely giving us lip service or if Putrajaya really cares about the well being of the Orang Asli,” he said.