Dr M: Pasir Gudang polluters to face stern action

Yiswaree Palansamy
Fire and Rescue Department personnel come to the aid of a student at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Tanjung Puteri Resort in Pasir Gudang June 24, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad vowed that those behind the latest air pollution episode in Pasir Gudang, Johor will face the full brunt of the law after dozens, mostly students, fell ill from inhaling the air there.

In a press conference here today, he labelled the incident as unfortunate, saying it should not have happened after the initial incident at Sungai Kim Kim.

“Ya, this is something unfortunate. Rightly, after the previous incident, it should not have happened again, but looks like there are industries which are not that bothered about safety.

“That’s why we have to identify who are the polluters and we will take stern action against them,” he said after attending the 33rd Asia-Pacific Roundtable at the Hilton Hotel here.

A total of 475 schools and educational institutions in Pasir Gudang have been ordered to close, from today until Thursday.

Johor Education Department director Azman Adnan said the number involved 111 government primary and secondary schools, three higher educational institutions, 14 private and international schools and 347 private pre-schools.

“All educational institutions have been ordered to close in an effort to address the issue of pollution sources by the authorities,” he said in a statement last night.

Earlier, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal said a total of 75 students have been referred to Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) today after 15 schools were affected by the pollution.

The students from various schools in Pasir Gudang had complained of breathing difficulty and vomiting.

On June 22, three schools and two preschools were ordered to be closed for two days, starting as a safety measure following possible air pollution in the Taman Mawar area here.

In March, more than 4,000 people, mainly children, fell ill after a toxic fume incident in Sungai Kim Kim. The fallout from the incident also saw the temporary closure of 111 schools in the Pasir Gudang district.

However, authorities have been quick to deny that the two incidents were connected.

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