PETALING JAYA: Residents around Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor, which has been hit by chemical pollution, do not need to be evacuated for now, says Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian.
Osman said the residential areas were not affected by the pollution, and only the school areas were.
Thirteen schools in the district have been closed and more than 200 people have been treated after inhaling toxic fumes, he said in press conference televised live on Facebook today.
However, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad in the same press conference urged the public to stay away from the area as they could be exposed to the pollution at the river because of several factors, including changes in temperature and wind direction.
He said these factors could affect those beyond a 5km radius.
Osman said the state government had set up a special committee and a disaster management centre which would include monitoring by the police, the Department of Environment, the Fire and Rescue Department and the education ministry.
“The committee will be operating 24 hours a day to monitor safety and control works, as well as coordinate efforts to contain the pollution.
“On the orders of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, I have instructed for a special task force to begin forensic investigations into the incident,” he said.
He said he had given the task force full authority to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
Osman said the state government had approved a RM6.4 million allocation for emergency aid for victims and to clean up the area.
“At this point in time, there is no need to point fingers or play politics. The main focus is to render assistance. Do not spread any false news.
“We have taken immediate measures, a contractor has been appointed and we will appoint two more so that cleanup works can be carried out immediately,” he said.