Pahang Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director Johari Alwi said health screenings would be conducted on 292 Batek villagers from Kampung Kuala Sat and Kampung Keniam in Taman Negara. Pic by NSTP/SAIFULLIZAN TAMADI

KUANTAN: The Orang Asli of two villages in Jerantut are being closely monitored following news of a pneumonia outbreak in Kampung Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, in Kelantan which has resulted in several fatalities.

Pahang Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director Johari Alwi said health screenings would be conducted on 292 Batek villagers from Kampung Kuala Sat and Kampung Keniam in Taman Negara.

He said Jakoa was working with the district Health Department to see whether there were signs of the spread of pneumonia at the two Orang Asli settlements.

“Our records show that the Batek tribe living in Jerantut are those who travel on foot from their settlement in Taman Negara towards the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement.

“To date, there has been no official report or case of any such outbreak.

“We have taken all the required safety precautions and health screenings will be conducted as soon as possible.

“We will continue to work closely with the health authorities,” he told the New Straits Times.

Taman Negara is home to some 1,000 members of the Batek tribe, and while some have settled in permanent communities, others still move from one location to another.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy said the Pahang Health Department had been asked to monitor the spread of pneumonia at the Orang Asli settlements in the state.

He said the move was to prevent the spread of pneumonia to other settlements as it was believed that the outbreak began when the Orang Asli migrated from Pahang to Kelantan.

Atate Health director Datuk Dr Shaari Ngadiman said a medical team had gone to check on the situation at the settlements, adding that the department would issue a press statement to provide updates from the ground.

Earlier, the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry had launched investigations into claims that water pollution was the cause of the pneumonia outbreak among the Orang Asli community in Kampung Kuala Koh.

Up to 14 Orang Asli had reportedly died due to the ongoing outbreak.