We call on the Government to make public the full report on the death of five Orang Asli children from Cameron Highlands

Media Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw

(Ipoh, Friday): There haven been reports of the Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek providing medical staff to monitor rotavirus infection in the Orang Asli kampungs. The Orang Asli Affairs Department also gave nutritious food to the children infected by the virus. 

Apparently, there were 17 Orang Asli children warded at the Tanah Rata Hospital and another nine were kept under observation.


We have to know more than just the preliminary tests positive for rotavirus because there may be simultaneous infection with other bacteria or viruses such as Salmonella or Shigella. Rotavirus causes significant public health problem; it is responsible for infantile diarrhoea especially in under-nourished children.


We hope that the medical personnel from the Health Ministry are able to help the Orang Asli in Cameron Highlands to overcome the current infection. Besides giving nutritious food, the Orang Asli Affairs Department would have to revise its strategy of encouraging good hygiene and education among Orang Aslis. Good hygiene and breast-feeding can reduce the potential risk and severity of rotavirus infection.


We notice that the Government projects the image of trying to preserve customs and arts of Orang Aslis with museums. But, it has not done enough to help Orang Aslis in education and health. Truancy and dropout rate from schools among Orang Aslis are still very high.



* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong