Bauxite mine drowning: Sessions court orders land owner to pay damages of RM37,620 to victims’ families

KUANTAN: The Sessions Court here yesterday ordered the owner of an abandoned bauxite mining site in Taman Sungai Karang here to pay damages totalling RM37,620 to the families of three children who drowned there last year.

Judge Mohd Ghazali Mohamad Taib also ordered Ng Kok Yu, 42, to pay the families cost and interests which would be determined by the court later.

Mother of drowned victims Norhabibah Aidir (left) and Nor Azila Mudzafar react after court ordered the owner of an abandoned bauxite mining site to pay damages to the families. — Bernama photo

He made the order after hearing the testimony of seven witnesses in a negligence suit filed by the victims’ parents against Ng .

The plaintiffs are  Mohd Shariff Awang Ngah and Norhabibah Aidir, both 50, who are the parents of Nureen Ain Juwita, 10; and Nor Azila Mudzafar Shah, 32, who is the mother of siblings Salsabila Zulkhairi, 12, and Mahathir Mohamad,7.

On Feb 4, 2017, Salsabila, Mahathir and Nureen drowned while trying to retrieve a pair of pants from the disused mining site-turned-pond after it was filled with rainwater prior to the incident.

In the suit filed on Oct 29 last year,  the plaintiffs, among others, claimed that Ng had failed to fence up the area to avoid people from entering the site, did not erect any warning signs or refill the disused mining pool with earth.

Meanwhile, Nor Azila when met outside the courtroom said she was grateful with the judgment and hope it would serve as a reminder to all parties, especially disused bauxite mine owners to ensure the safety at their respective mining areas.

“The suit is not about money, but as a reminder for other disused bauxite mine owners to not only think of making profits,” she said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Mohd Harris Abdullah, representing the plaintiffs, said he would appeal against the decision for the court to also provide aggravated and exemplary damages.

Ng, who resides in Penang, is represented by lawyer Jeyasingam Balasingam. — Bernama

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