‘You don’t go to Batam’ during crisis, Hishammuddin tells Johor MB

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian (seated, centre) visited Batam amid the recent toxic crisis in Pasir Gudang. — Picture by Ben Tan

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Umno MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today criticised Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian’s work visit to Batam amid the recent toxic crisis in Pasir Gudang.

The Sembrong MP said Osman’s visit to Batam, Indonesia on Friday had reflected a lack of seriousness of the state leader.

“This shows lack of seriousness and his credibility and priority in light of what is happening in Pasir Gudang.

“You don’t go to Batam,” he told reporters in Parliament when asked what he would suggest Osman to have done.

Osman had yesterday explained his trip, and said that the pre-scheduled trip of three days was shortened to less than a day due to the urgency of the Pasir Gudang clean-up operations.

Hishammuddin, who was an education minister, said he was upset over the Pasir Gudang incident and how it was taken lightly by the Johor state administration.

He said the current Education Ministry could have taken sterner action as it had involved school pupils.

“I was perplexed and shocked at how the state administration had taken lightly such a pressing issue.

“As a former education minister, I know under such circumstances, the minister could have taken a sterner stance.

“In the context of defence, we have our expertise. Why were the chemists not deployed earlier?” asked Hishammuddin, who was defence minister before the change of government last year.

As of 2pm yesterday, the number of cases affected by the Sungai Kim Kim toxic fumes since March 7 was at 3,976 cases.

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