Orang Asli: Nora’s Death Will Affect Our Livelihood

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The Orang Asli in the small town of Pantai, near Seremban, are worried that the mysterious death of Irish teenager Nora Anne Quoirin would take a toll on their livelihoods.

The disappearance of the 15-year-old girl and the subsequent discovery of her body after a 10-day search received worldwide attention and the Orang Asli community is wondering if the bad publicity will turn tourists away.

Most of the Orang Asli work at the nine eco-resorts in the area. Warned by the police and their employers not to talk to the press about the case, they spoke to The Malaysian Insight on condition of anonymity.

A man who works at the resort next to The Dusun on Pantai Hill, where Nora stayed with her family, said he is unsure if tourists would still visit the town after this.

“Because of the resorts here, we have been able to find work and help our families. For many years we have been working for them, apart from selling fruits from the jungle. We were able to get a side income at the resorts for our families.

“I am not sure if this place is going to be packed again. The news (has spread) worldwide, not just in the country. It may cost us but I am not sure to what extent,” he said.

Nora and her family arrived at The Dusun resort on August 3 for a two-week vacation. She was found missing the following morning.

Her body was found some 2km away from the resort on August 13, after a 10-day search.

Another man who works as a trekking guide said he might have to get another job.

“Tourists will be afraid to come here again. There were people who got lost before but they were rescued. This time around, it’s different.

“Hopefully things will get better but if it does not, I will need to find another job,” said the villager in his 20s.

The Orang Asli in the area are of the Temuan tribe. There are about 100 of them living at the Kampung Air Kolam settlement on the outskirts of Pantai town, population 4,000.

An elderly woman from the tribe said most of her children work at the resorts as they have not been able to secure jobs in Seremban.

“It is not easy for us to work in town. Many of the youngsters did not finish school. They preferred to work rather than study.

“Many of them work here at the resorts. They enjoy working here and besides, they can make extra money by selling fruits and vegetables.

“For now, we cannot be sure (what will happen). We are waiting to see what is going to happen. Will this place continue to draw in the crowds? Only time will tell,” said the mother of three.

A local villager who introduced himself as Vijay, meanwhile, said there has never been a case like Nora’s in the area, though many hikers have been known to lose their way in the rainforest of Jeram Toi.

“I have stayed here for many years and I do jungle trekking myself. There have been many cases of hikers getting lost in the forest but they were found and rescued.

“This is the first time that someone had been found dead in this area. My in-laws who are the natives here had never encountered such an incident.

“We feel sorry for the family…it is their first time here. It was not supposed to end this way,” said the 53-year-old taxi driver.

Vijay felt Nora was lured out of her room but added that the case is still a mystery.

“From what I have read, there was no evidence of her being lured, but how did she get out of her villa if not by being taken away by someone. There must be someone involved, but that’s only my thoughts on the matter,” he said.

Vijay added that for the past 10 years, the Dusun Pantai Hill eco-resort has been a popular destination for tourists from all around the world.

“During weekends, this place is full of people. Local and foreign, but mostly foreigners from Japan, Europe, America and other places.

“There has been no problem before and everyone enjoyed this place because of its natural resources and the view,” he said.

A post mortem on the remains revealed that Nora died of starvation. She had a ruptured intestine as a result of not eating for days.

The body was found near a small stream which is not accessible by vehicles.

Another local villager said Nora would still be alive if the search and rescue teams had found her tracks earlier.

Pak Halim, a retiree said despite hearing many mysterious stories surrounding the incident, he pointed out that the body was found not far from where she got lost.

“I cannot explain how she got out (of the resort), but the fact that the body was found not far from the resort tells us everything. That she did not walk deep into the rainforest.

“Of course locals here believe something else but if only the rescuers were able to locate her much earlier, she would still be alive.

“We sympathise with the family for having to go through this. I believe everyone had tried their best to help just that they were not lucky this time,” said the 67-year-old.

Nora arrived in Malaysia with her father Sebastian Philipe, her sister Innes, 12, and brother Maurice, eight. They had come from London. Her mother, Meabh, flew in from Singapore.

Her family had insisted that Nora was abducted but police classified the case as a missing person’s report as there was no evidence of abduction.

Police also searched more than 30 houses in the vicinity and ran checks on suspected criminals near the resort.

In the 10-day operations, more than 300 police personnel were deployed including the elite VAT69 commandos and trekkers from the Senoi Praaq unit.

According to reports, French police have opened criminal investigations into the case. – TMI


Earlier reports:

Aug 17, Search Says Impossible for Nora to Have Reached Jungle Ravine on Her Own

Aug 17, Concerns Raised over Parties Claiming to Represent Nora’s Family

Aug 16, Nora’s Family Hoping for More Answers on Her Disappearance

Aug 16, Wan Azizah Offers Condolences in Emotional Meeting with Nora’s Family

Aug 16, Nora’s French Relatives Convinced of ‘Criminal Element’

Aug 15, Hikers Who Found Body Say Nora Looked Like “She Was Sleeping”

Aug 15, Nora Quoirin Autopsy Finds No Signs of Rape, Violence

Aug 14, Nora’s Autopsy Not Yet Completed, to Continue Tomorrow

Aug 14, Autopsy Report Not Out, Don’t Blame Orang Asli, Warn Police

Aug 14, Nora Autopsy to Be Completed at 8pm Today

Aug 14, Friends Who Found Nora Say They Were Afraid to Approach the Body

Aug 14, Nora’s Family Wants Criminal Angle Considered, A-G to Decide on Need for Inquest

Aug 14, Heartbroken Nora’s Family Will Always Love Her, Thank Everyone for Love, Support

Aug 14, Police Return to Ravine Where Nora’s Body Was Found

Aug 14, Pathologists from KL Conduct Autopsy on Nora Quoirin’s Body

Aug 14, Residents Express Sadness, Sympathy over Discovery of Nora’s Body

Aug 13, Parents Confirm Body Is Nora

Aug 13, Cops Say ‘Very Certain’ Body Found Nude in Jungle Is Missing Irish Teen

Aug 13, Helicopter to Retrieve Body Found in Swamp Believed to Be of Missing Irish Teen

Aug 13, Body Found in Hunt for Missing Irish Teen, Parents Brought to Scene

Aug 13, Search for Nora Enters 10th Day

Aug 13, Quoirin Family Offers RM50K Reward for Info on Nora

Aug 13, Police from England, France, Ireland Help in Probe into Missing Teen Case

Aug 11, SAR for Nora: Ops Team Gets Time Off for Aidiladha Prayers

Aug 10, SAR for Missing Irish Teen: Wet Weather Proves a Challenge for Search Teams

Aug 10, Nora Extremely Excited About Holiday in Malaysia

Aug 9, Missing Irish Teen: CID Team Checks Phone Logs, Email Exchanges Made from Resort

Aug 9, Footprints Believed to Be That of Nora’s Found

Aug 8, Police: Only Exit Used in Missing Irish Teen Case Was Glass Window

Aug 8, Police to Use Mum’s Voice to Draw out Missing Irish Teen in Day 5 of SAR

Aug 8, Quoirin Family Incensed at Media’s Overture

Aug 8, Crowdfund for Missing Irish Teen Hits £50,000 Target

Aug 7, Police Insist Missing Irish Teen Still in Jungle, but Orang Asli Community Claim Otherwise

Aug 7, Family Insists Irish Teen Was Taken

Aug 7, Search and Rescue for Irish Teen Extended to Surrounding Hills and Creeks

Aug 7, Stepping Up Searching for MissingIrish Teen

Aug 6, Search for Missing Irish Teen Goes Down to River

Aug 5, Negeri Sembilan Police in Statewide Search for Missing 15-Year-Old Special Needs Irish Girl