KOTA BARU: The Kelantan government appreciates the statement issued by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pix) confirming the death of individuals from Batek tribe in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, has nothing to do with water pollution due to mining activities.
Its Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the statement had cleared Kelantan’s name which had previously been bombarded with various accusations pertaining to the issue.
“Initially there were many accusations thrown at Kelantan regarding the transmission of unknown diseases among the Orang Asli of the Batek tribe.
“However, we are grateful that Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that the illness has nothing to do with alleged water pollution, based on the results of the tests carried out by several agencies including the Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) unit, the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Health Department,” he said this during the the state legislative assembly sitting at Kota Darul Naim Complex here today.
He said this in his reply to a supplementary question from Abd Rahman Yunus (PAS-Pasir Tumboh) asking for clarification whether the mining activities were related to the problems currently faced by the Orang Asli community.
Earlier, Mohd Amar was replying to a question from Mohd Adanan Hassan (PAS-Kelaboran) who wanted to know efforts taken by the state government to increase state revenue from mining activities.
Last Friday, Dr Wan Azizah was reported as saying that the spread of the disease among Orang Asli of Batek tribe in Kampung Kuala Koh was not due to manganese mining activities and the results released by the Chemistry Department on June 12 also found that the water quality in Lebir river was in compliance with the National Water Quality Standard for Raw Water.
Mohd Amar said it was further strengthened by a recent statement issued by the Health Ministry that deaths of Batek tribe members was due to measles and malnutrition.
In his answer to a supplementary question from Datuk Mohd Adhan Kechik (BN-Bukit Bunga) on the control of cyanide use in mining activities, Mohd Amar said the state government had always imposed stringent requirements on the use of the materials that could harm the environment and other lives.
He said the Kelantan government had received information on the use of cyanide but thus far it was still under control.
“That is why we emphasise cooperation and roles played by other agencies including the Land and Mines Office and the DOE to monitor this matter so that they adhere to all rules and no negative impacts on the environment,” he said, adding that stern action would be taken if the mining operators were found violating the prescribed rules. — Bernama