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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11, 2015:

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he had directed the search and rescue (SAR) operation for the missing Orang Asli children to be intensified.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, urged all parties to cooperate fully with the local community, especially to know the fate of the children as soon as possible.

“I have instructed the police, the Armed Forces and the Fire and Rescue Department to enhance SAR efforts,” he said in a statement today.

So far, two of the seven children reported missing since Aug 23 have been found alive, namely Miksudiar Alui, 11, and Norieen Yaakob, 10, whereas Sasa Sobrie, 8, and Ika Ayel, 9, were confirmed dead.

Police categorised three children, namely Juvina David, 7, Haikal Yaakob, 8, and Linda Rosli, 8, as still missing despite two skeletal remains having been found because there was no DNA confirmation.

Ahmad Zahid said the government was taking the disappearance of the Orang Asli children seriously.

“The priority now is for the SAR team to locate and rescue the victims who are still missing.”

He expressed condolences and his sympathy to the families of the two victims who were confirmed dead and was thankful for the discovery of the two other victims who survived the ordeal.

“As a father, I deeply understand and instinctively feel what the parents are going through and sympathise with all the victims’ family members and friends who were forced to face the tragedy.

“Let us together pray that the children who are still missing are safe.”

He also called on all parties to take into account the sensitivities of the families of the victims and not to politicise the incident.

“Let us not be narrow-minded and look at all issues via the racial lens. The government has been consistent and committed to ensure the safety of all segments of the multiracial society in the country are protected and upheld.”

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