The Kelantan state government is thankful for the statement issued by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail confirming the death of 15 individuals from the Bateq tribe in Kampung Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, had nothing to do with water pollution due to mining activities.
Deputy chief minister Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah (photo) said the state government 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 Bateq tribe.
“We are grateful that Dr Wan Azizah has confirmed the illness has nothing to do with alleged water pollution,”he said during the state legislative assembly sitting at Kota Darul Naim Complex in Kota Baru today.
He said this during 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 in the state.
Earlier, Mohd Amar was replying to a question from Mohd Adanan Hassan (PAS-Kelaboran) who wanted to know the efforts taken by the state government to increase state revenue from mining activities.
On Friday, Dr Wan Azizah said the spread of the disease among the Bateq tribe was not due to manganese mining activities. The test 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 added that a recent statement issued by the Health Ministry confirmed that the deaths in Kampung Kuala Koh 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 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.
“The state emphasises on co-operation with other agencies like the Land and Mines Office and the Department of Environment to monitor this issue so that the mining industry adheres to all rules and there is no negative impact on the environment,”he said.