Govt trying to ascertain actual cause of Orang Asli deaths – Dr Mahathir

JASIN, June 10 (Bernama) The government is trying to determine the actual cause of deaths of members of the Batek tribe in Kampung Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, Kelantan that occurred between May and last week.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said their deaths may be due to a disease but the disease has yet to be identified.

Yes, we are looking for the reason why there are so many deaths. There may be an infection of one type of disease but at this time we do not know what type of disease has caused their deaths, he told a media conference here today.

Earlier he launched the Rumah Peduli Melaka in Lipat Kajang here. Also present were Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari and state executive councillors.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy was reported to have said that 14 Batek tribe members in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang have died in the past one month, including two confirmed due to pneumonia.

However, the day before, Gua Musang district police chief Supt Taufik Maidin denied allegations of Orang Asli residents in the village that 13 people had died of a mysterious illness.

On another matter, Dr Mahathir said civil servants had to confirm their participation in a political party and could participate in politics but they were not allowed to become party leaders.

He said that as civil servants they should not be influenced by their membership in any political party and thus have to adhere to all the directives and decisions made by the government elected by the people.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the appointment of Latheefa Beebi Koya as the new chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was based on her straight personality.

The appointment of Latheefa as the new MACC chief for a two-year contract effective June 1 was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office on June 4 and drew various reactions from many quarters.

Source: Office of the Prime Minster Malaysia