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Panel to probe 'shocking' forced birth control meds for Orang Asli claim

Published:  |  Modified:

Putrajaya will be setting up a panel to investigate claims Orang Asli women were coerced into taking birth control medication by Health Ministry officials.

Referring to a Malaysiakini report, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy (photo, above) said he was “shocked” upon reading the claims by a Temiar activist that the women were threatened into taking the medication by nurses from the Health Ministry's mobile health clinics.

“This is a serious allegation and the government takes this matter seriously. These acts do not define the moral-ethical practices of the multi-racial social fabric in our country.

“I will discuss this matter with the Health Minister (Dzulkefly Ahmad) and get to the bottom of this. I will also set up a panel to investigate this matter,” said Waythamoorthy, whose national unity and social wellbeing portfolio includes Orang Asli affairs.

In the Malaysiakini report yesterday, Temiar activist Nora Kantin claimed women in her village in Gua Musang, Kelantan, were threatened to have their medical cards confiscated should they refuse birth control in the form of injections or pills.

The activist alleged that newlyweds are especially targeted.

The Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) cited past reports that Temiar women in Tasik Temenggor, Perak, were threatened with “deadly drugs” should they refuse.

The health minister is expected to issue a response on this matter today.

This comes after representatives from five Orang Asli villages submitted a memorandum to the government at Parliament on Tuesday, complaining about the distribution of birth control pills to the community, but without sufficient details.

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