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Kelantan denies water pollution behind Kuala Koh outbreak

Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah today said that the pneumonia outbreak among the Orang Asli community in Kampung Kuala Koh had nothing to do with water pollution or logging.

Amar said the matter was confirmed by several government agencies, including the Health Department and the Fire and Rescue Department Hazardous Materials Unit (Hazmat).

"Previously, various forms of slander were raised against the state government, linked to the Orang Asli issue in Gua Musang," he told reporters after attending a state executive council meeting at the Kota Darul Naim complex in Kota Bahru today.

"Alhamdulillah, the confirmation has been made by several government agencies, and even the health minister has explained that the Orang Asli issue in the village has nothing to do with water pollution or mining as previously claimed." 

Amar also said the state government, through Air Kelantan Sdn Bhd (AKSB), would continue to send clean water to the Orang Asli settlements in Kuala Koh even though the water sources there were certified safe for use.

"We also understand that there is a tube well built in the area. When the water source in the area is confirmed to be safe, the Orang Asli community can also use the facility," he said.

Commenting on allegations by certain quarters over illegal mining activities being carried out in the area, he said Gua Musang was rich in mineral resources, but the Kelantan government had certain controls in place for mining activities.

He said he had also been informed that a mining area located in Kuala Koh was operating with a valid licence. 

However, he declined to elaborate on the matter, saying further information should be sought from the state Land and Mines Office.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that two of the 14 deaths involving the Orang Asli community from the Bateq tribe in Kuala Koh in the past month were due to pneumonia.

The true cause of death, however, would only be known after a serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is concluded.

So far, 99 residents of the community have received treatment, with four of them warded at the intensive care units of the Kuala Krai Hospital and Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital (HRPZII).

- Bernama

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