Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is upset that the river pollution in Kuala Betis near Gua Musang, Kelantan has claimed the life of a Temiar whilst seven others from the Orang Asli community have been hospitalized, suspected to be suffering from poisoning after drinking river water in this area.
This incident happened probably due to plantation activities in the area which contaminated the river with pesticide residue.
SAM urges the Kelantan government, Gua Musang District Council, Department of Environment, Health Department and the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) to investigate this case and reveal the real cause of the incident to the public as soon as possible.
SAM is disappointed that although this issue has long been a grievance to the community who have complained of pollution of their daily water supply but not heeded and until now no effective action has been taken.
In October 2014, SAM had written a complaint letter to the concerned authorities regarding the problems faced by the Orang Asli community in Rancangan Pengumpulan Semula (RPS) Kuala Betis who were concerned that their health will be affected because the source of water supply in the area is contaminated with toxins.
SAM did not receive any response to our complaint, nor findings of investigations or full report from the authorities despite letter of reminders being submitted by SAM.
SAM was shocked and saddened to find out that the community that was affected by the problem became victims of poisoning due to contamination of the river water with toxic substances.
SAM hopes that the state government, departments and agencies involved will give serious attention to this incident and urges legal action taken against the polluters of the river here which has caused the death of one person in this area.
Continuous monitoring should be done by the relevant parties in this Orang Asli village to guarantee that their life is no longer threatened in the future.