State or emergency over chemical dumping incident in Pasir Gudang?

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By John Isaac

Serious action must be taken against those responsible for this.

Parliament today approved an emergency motion for the government to declare a state of emergency following the chemical dumping incident in Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor.

Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof accepted the motion, which was tabled by Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim under Standing Order 18 (1).

“As the Speaker, I am satisfied that the motion meets with all of the requirements – that it is a specific matter, of public interest, and urgent,” he said.

Earlier, lawmakers from both sides of the political divide called for Parliament to debate the motion to declare an emergency over the incident.

According to reports in The Star, the government has since ordered a total of 111 schools in and around Pasir Gudang in Johor closed pending further notice.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said he made the decision after being told that the situation had reached “critical” level.

He directed all teachers involved to “stop work” at once given the severity of the situation.

The list included the 13 schools closed down earlier due to chemical pollution in Sungai Kim Kim, which had affected almost 300 people.

Maszlee said his ministry was working closely with the Health, and Water, Land and Natural Resources ministries, and the Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Ministry to ensure the safety of students, teachers and support staff in the state.

About 266 victims are being treated at the Sultan Ismail Hospital, with 42 warded at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital since the chemical pollution was reported last Thursday.

Johor executive councillor Dr Sahruddin Jamal was reported to have said that a contractor licensed by the DoE would be appointed to clean up the river.

He said the affected stretch spanned 1.5km and the exercise would be coordinated by the DoE and Drainage and Irrigation Department.