Water awareness programme to provide clean water to Orang Asli communities

Many Orang Asli residents use river water for drinking and bathing as well as cleaning household items. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 15, 2019.

THE Empower the East Coast Economic Region (Empower ECER) programme today launched the ‘Making Orang Asli Community Healthy and Happy’ initiative, aimed at providing clean water to the Orang Asli communities in their respective areas.

Empower ECER director Surain Kanda, who is also a director of Malaysian Social Development Organisation, said the programme was to raise awareness to be careful when using river water for drinking and bathing so as to avoid any untoward incident.

He added that the initiative was also to spread knowledge about the dangers of ‘Tom Jebek’, which means pollution of river that is the main source of water for the Orang Asli community.

“This is one of the programmes to prevent untoward incidents as many residents use the river water for drinking and bathing including along the Rual river,” he said in a statement today.

Held at Empower ECER Jeli, the programme received cooperation from Jeli Hospital, Orang Asli Development Department, Jeli District Education Office and Sekolah Kebangsaan Sg Rual.

According to Surain, the awareness campaign also emphasised on measures against water-borne diseases and contaminated food to ensure the Orang Asli communities were aware of the source of pollution.

“The pollution could have come from mining and logging waste which caused the underground water to be contaminated and causing epidemics,” he said, adding that the relevant authorities should constantly monitor and warn the community on the water sources.

According to him, Empower ECER Jeli was always vigilant concerning the Sg Rual Orang Asli community following the deaths of Batek tribe at Kuala Koh since May.

Surain said such awareness would be continued at all Orang Asli villages from time to time even though the Health Ministry announced that water pollution had nothing to do with the Orang Asli communities, who were infected with a mysterious illness. – Bernama, June 15, 2019.

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