Malaysians must hold their heads in shame at the shocking case of the seven Orang Asli children in Gua Musang, ranging from seven to eleven years, who had gone missing from their school hostel hear SK Tohoi since August 23, with the discovery yesterday of two survivors out of the seven, Norieen Yakob, 10, and Miksudial Aluj, 11, who were just skin and bones when found at a huge tree with a small hole on the ground just 1km from the school.
The other five had perished.
Malaysians must feel heart-sick that such callousness, inhumanity, negligence and gross incompetence can happen in modern-day Malaysia as to cause a human disaster and tragedy of such unbelievable magnitude.
That such a human disaster and tragedy can take place in Malaysia when we are just four years from wanting to join the rank of fully developed nations is to the eternal shame to Malaysia, and in particular the Umno/BN government of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Education Ministry today announced that “immediate action” on the SK Tohoi tragedy would be taken – a special committee to look into various aspects involving Orang Asli children who stayed in its hostels headed by the deputy director-general of Education (Education Operations Sector) and would include various parties and agencies and would look at development, safety, welfare and health aspects of the hostels.
The committee is given three months from mid-October 2015 “to prepare and submit recommendations” to the ministry.
The government response to the SK Tohoi tragedy is grossly inadequate and even laughable.
In the past seven weeks that the seven Orang Asli kids were missing, how many times did the Cabinet discuss the case – in fact, did the Cabinet ever discussed the case at all?
If the seven missing kids had been Malays, Chinese or even Indians in Peninsular Malaysia, missing for seven weeks, it would have caused a nation-wide hue and cry with all resources devoted to find the missing seven, but this was not done in the case of the seven Orang Asli kids in the past seven weeks although they were in the 1km vicinity of the school.
Are the lives of Orang Asli kids less worthy of protection than Malay, Chinese or Indian kids that they do not deserve seriousd attention from the Cabinet Ministers?
At least the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi had visited the families of the missing kids on Sept. 28, but what had the other Ministers whose Ministry are directly concerned with the case, like the Minister for Education, Datuk Mahdzir Khalid, the Minister for Rural and Regional Development Datuk Ismail Sabri Yakob whose portfolio includes the Orang Asli Affairs Department and the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Rohaini Abdul Karim personally done for the rescue of the seven Orang Asli kids in the past seven weeks.
Had they been conspicuous by their indifference to the case of the seven missing Orang Asli kids for seven weeks?
The Prime Minister should demand a full explanation from these Ministers as to what they had done to save the missing Orang Asli kids, and if they failed to provide a satisfactory accounts which should be made available to the public, they should face the music.
Meanwhile, those responsible for causing the case of the missing seven Orang Asli children, with five dead, in Gua Musang should be suspended or even charged for crime of negligence.
I am assigning DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok who, together with the DAP Parliamentary Spokesman for Education, Zairil Khir Johari, the special responsibility to highlight this scandal in Parliament when it reconvenes on Oct. 19 and to ensure that such a tragedy can never happen again to school children in Malaysia, whether Orang Asli kids or otherwise, in the country.
(Speech at the DAP Pengkalan Rinting Anniversary Dinner in Johor Baru on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 9 pm)