Poisonous gas could be behind students falling ill in Pasir Gudang, says ministry

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad

PUTRAJAYA: Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad today said that the 15 students who fell ill in Pasir Gudang Johor may have inhaled poisonous gas.

Earlier today, it was reported that the 15, from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar, suffered breathing difficulties and vomiting believed to be caused by air pollution.

About five were sent to Sultan Ismail Hospital for further treatment.

“Based on the symptoms, there is a possibility that it is poisonous gas,” Dzulkefly told reporters after chairing the post-Cabinet meeting here today.

He also said it was still too early to order the school to be closed.

The latest incident comes a little after three months after the toxic pollution of Sungai Kim Kim saw over 6,000 people falling ill and led to the 111 schools in Pasir Gudang closed in March.

It was later discovered that the pollution along Sungai Kim Kim was due to disposal of chemical waste into the river. Four, including a Singaporean, were later charged for the offence.

On a separate matter, Dzulkelfy said that as of June 18, another six Orang Asli in Kampung Kuala Koh in Gua Musang, Kelantan, were diagnosed with measles, bringing the total to 43.

No new deaths were recorded in the settlement.

“The situation is under control.”

Dzulkelfy also promised to look into claims by a tok batin (village chief) that nurses from the Kelantan Health Department had made faces and heckled the Orang Asli patients.

“These are very serious claims which we will investigate.”

The New Straits Times reported Raini Anjang as making the claim when explaining why the Orang Asli community did not trust the authorities. This resulted in the low immunisation level among the community.