An inquiry should be set up to find out why it took so long to find the missing Orang Asli children in Pos Tohoi, when they were less than a kilometre away from their hostel, DAP vice chairperson Teresa Kok said.
Two of the SK Tohoi primary school students were found alive but emaciated about 500 metres from the school hostel, while the remains of three others have been found.
The children went missing on Aug 23, but according to a report lodged by one of their parents with the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) on Sept 15, the police search only started five days later, Kok said.
This shows possibility of negligence, which had cost lives, she said.
Remains of three children have so far been found. Seven of them were missing.
“The public wants answers and the government must set up an independent committee into the tragic episode.
“Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must leave no stone unturned in finding out the truth,” she said in a statement.
“Those who have been found to be negligent or irresponsible in causing the tragedy should be punished.”
She said the inquiry should also look at why the parents were not immediately informed by the school that their children were missing.
It should also probe why the children felt they needed to run away and hide to escape punishment for swimming in the river.
Kok raised concern that forced assimilation in the school had alienated the children and led them to flee.
The government said 470 people personnel were deployed to search for the children since Aug 23, and that the state did all it could.
The duo who survived said they ate grass and wild fruits to stay alive, but no one else survived.
Pos Tohoi is a remote area about 41 kilometres from Gua Musang, Kelantan, with very limited accessibility.