The deaths of 14 Bateks included in Putrajaya vs Kelantan

The deaths of 14 Bateks included in Putrajaya vs Kelantan

PUTRAJAYA: The federal government would be adding the deaths of the 14 people of the Batek tribe in its suit against the Kelantan government for encroachment into Orang Asli land.

The affidavit was filed last week to further prove that the state government had failed to protect the indigenous people in the state.

“I have reason to believe that the real cause of death among the Batek Orang Asli is due to neglect and/or omission of the state in failing to recognise the customary rights of the Orang Asli and allowing the land to be destroyed and depleted in the name of ‘progressive development’ of the state,” said Khong Hui Li, special officer to Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.

Khong said the state government, just like the federal government, owed the Orang Asli a fiduciary duty as trustee not only to protect the community’s welfare, well-being and advancement, but also to safeguard the native customary rights.

Khong’s affidavit is accompanied by exhibits of news reports provided by the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy had revealed that the deaths took place between May 2 and 7th. A total of 12 of them had died due to measles and another two due to pneumonia.

The government also took proactive measures in finding out the reasons for the sudden deaths.

In a related development the PAS led government has roped in former Lord President of the then Supreme Court Tun Salleh Abas as its counsel.

Tags assigned to this article:
14 deathsBatek communityKelantan vs Putrajaya