10-year-old Norieen Yaakob and 11-year-old Miksudiar Aluj have been found safe, though gaunt and emaciated, in Sungai Perias
There is now a need to fill in the gaps behind their miraculous survival and discovery after they were reported missing along with 5 other Orang Asli kids from SK Pos Tohoi in Gua Musang on 23 August when they failed to return to their hostel for fear of being punished for bathing in a nearby river without permission.
However, it cannot be done without mentioning the tragic and harrowing find of the other Orang Asli kids' decomposed bodies and skeleton remains. Police are still searching for the one remaining Orang Asli child. Be warned, for this is a story filled tragic findings and an ending which may not be so happy after all.
Both the Orang Asli girls are currently receiving treatment at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital (HRPZII). According to a report in Astro Awani, Kelantan police chief Mazlan Lazim said that the police have yet to record statements from both the girls as they are still weak due to dehydration and are also suffering from emotional instability.
"We have to wait for the medical expert to give the green light before we can ask the girls about what really happened from the day they went missing to the day they were found by the search and rescue team. We have to give ample time for them to fully recover before we can get the real story," Astro Awani quoted Mazlan as saying.
According to a personal account narrated by one of a journalists covering the story from The Star, one of the two Orang Asli girls, Miksudiar, when found, appeared a little more than a bag of bones with her eyes staring with a haunted look.
And she whispered: "Nak makan ayam (I would like to eat some chicken)."
Mazlan, saying that the police have not detected any criminal element in the case, added that as of now, there were no elements of ill intention, of being kidnapped, or targeted for organ selling as speculated by some parties.
"They walked in a group, all seven of them, without anyone else guiding them. When asked why they did not walk home, they said that they were worried they would get lost while walking to Pos Tohoi," The Star quoted the Kelantan police chief as saying.
According to Dr Ahmad Razin, the two girls weigh about 15kg each currently.
"There are two issues that we need to pay attention to - the serious lack of nutrition they face and their psychological state. They were also very quiet and appeared depressed and did not want to talk. When I tried to examine them, they withdrew from being examined," he said adding that the children were still traumatised.
It could take between three to six months for them to fully recover.
Currently, they are being given soft foods such as rice porridge, cereals and others food for a few days before doctors treating them prepare for solid food.
According to HRPZII Paediatric expert Dr Nik Nasiruddin Nik Leh, both the girls will be counselled by a psychologist and are under a controlled diet to restore their weight.
Quoting an Orang Asli Rela platoon leader Along Arop, a report in The Star says the two survivors looked after their friend, Ika Ayel, until she died.
"They told me that they looked after their friend until she died," he reportedly said. Arop was also told by the two girls that they witnessed Ika dying 5 days earlier.
Ika's remains were found by SAR team searching for the missing Orang Asli kids. Her mother, Nora Tegau, identified her 9-year-old daughter's body at the morgue. "Dia Ika Ayel (She is Ika Ayel)!", Nora screamed when she recognised her daughter.
According to a statement given by Norieen to her mother, she and the other girl found are the only two who are alive and the rest of the missing Orang Asli kids are all dead.
"They are all dead. We are all that's left," Norieen was quoted as saying.
Norieen also said that the first to die in the harsh jungle conditions was 7-year-old Juvina David. Juvina, Norieen's brother Haikal, and Linda Rosli, are yet to be accounted for. She said that after Juvina, the rest to die were Haikal, Sasa, Ika and Linda in order, and that she and Miksudiar floated the bodies of their friends downstream.
According to Mazlan, Miksudiar and Norieen had to eat grass and wild fruits found around the area to survive. The SAR team found them under the roots of trees hanging on the riverbank of Sungai Perias in Gua Musang.
Norieen's mother said that 3 of the missing Orang Asli kids drowned in the river.
According to The Star Online, Norieen told her mother Midah Angah that her brother, Haikal had drowned in Sg Perias. "She said she saw Haikal drinking from the river and saw him being swept away but she could not do anything about it."
Midah said Norieen also told her that Sasa Sobrie was sleeping on a boulder near Sg Perias at night but was gone the next morning. The same thing happened to Linda Rosli who slept at the river bank but also disappeared after that, added Midah.
Meanwhile, Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Azizah Mohd said the ministry would offer counselling services and monetary aid, if need be, to the families of the children