JOHOR BARU, March 18 ― Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian has ordered the area surrounding two alleged illegal dump sites for suspected chemical waste in Pasir Gudang closed to the public.
He said in a statement that he viewed complaints about the dump sites at Sungai Sembilan and Sungai Masai seriously and has ordered the police to cordon off the areas.
Pointing out that he had instructed the Department of Environment to launch an investigation, Sapian said if it was true that certain quarters have been illegally dumping chemical waste in the two areas, strict action will be taken.
“I will not allow this chemical disaster to recur because it puts lives and security of the people at risk,” said Osman, urging the public to stay away from the affected areas.
Today, the authorities removed blue barrels containing substance which have yet to be identified from the banks of the two rivers.
More than 3,000 people have been hospitalised in Pasir Gudang after inhaling toxic fumes emitted from chemical waste dumped into Sungai Kim Kim on March 7. No fatalities have been reported.
The pollution had also forced the closure of 111 schools in the district until further notice.
The police have arrested nine individuals over the illegal dumping of chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said this morning that two were arrested in Johor and seven more were picked up outside of Johor following an aggressive hunt involving Bukit Aman and state police.
All nine have been remanded for six days starting today.
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