Residents fill bauxite mining pool with earth after deaths

Taking the initiative: People watching as an excavator begins filling up the pool with earth.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUANTAN - Residents in Taman Sungai Karang Jaya took matters into their own hands by filling up a mining pool with earth after three children died of drowning in a former bauxite mining area.

People watched as an excavator was used to dig a drain to channel out the water which flowed into a monsoon drain located near a row of houses.

Ali Akbar Othman, who is chairman of a group which opposed the bauxite mining, said if such work to fill the hole with earth had been done by the bauxite miners earlier, the tragedy could have been avoided.

"The residents decided to take their own initiative to fill the hole with earth. What has happened has passed," he said at the scene.

On Saturday, three children, including two siblings, were found drowned at the pool.

Salsabila Zuhairi, 12, her brother Mahathir Mohamad Zuhairi, seven, and Norain Ain Juwita Mohd Sharif, 10, were found dead in the pool in the 5.45pm incident.

Following the tragedy, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar asked all bauxite operators in Pahang to fill and fence disused bauxite mining ponds as well as install warning signboards around the areas.

The ministry would seek a way to compel all mine operators to fulfil these requirements in future, he added.

The Regent of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah ordered the relevant authorities to fill up disused mines with earth, especially those located near residential areas, to avoid untoward incidents.

Read also: Bauxite mines are now death traps