Bakun folk believe deaths in their area brought by angry gods and spirits
KUCHING: Bakun Community Safety Committee (BCSC) chairman Dr Elli Luhat said yesterday the deaths reported in Bakun were caused by angry spirits in the area although State Health Department director Dr Zulkifli Jantan had confirmed on Tuesday that the fatalities were caused by melioidosis and leptospirosis.
Elli said he was not trying to refute whatever facts that the Health Department director had given as the causes for the deaths of the three victims in the Bakun area but the people believed the diseases were brought about by angry gods of the area and spirits of their ancestors.
Although the cause of the deaths was spiritual, Elli said the reason is temporal – unpaid compensation for the cemeteries of the ancestors of the people in the area.
He added without the funds they were unable to hold rituals to appease the spirits of their ancestors and incurred their wrath.
“A certain community here has yet to receive the compensation money for their ancestors’ graveyards until today.
“We have lodged a police report in Miri on this but up to now there is still no outcome.”
Elli said whatever the cause of the deaths were, the government is to spring into action and initiate immediate remedial measures.
“Whether the deaths were mysterious or not, the fact that the department had confirmed the deaths should have prompted the relevant authorities to urgently conduct thorough investigation and to mitigate the outbreak,” he said.
He suggested that the government set up a special task force to urgently address the issue and take measures to contain the diseases the Health Department had identified.
Elli stressed that his opinions and suggestions were not politically motivated.
“I want to make it very clear here that there is no political agenda in this. My main purpose is to save the people.”
“As the BCSC chairman, I would be going around to the ground to advise the locals not to consume any dead fish in the lake. Recently, we heard many fishes were found dead and our fear is that causes of their deaths are contagious,” he said.
Elli, who is also the Bakun Compensation Committee chairman, said he would be calling for a proper press conference over the matter sometimes next week.