Johor didn’t learn from past pollution, says ex-MB

Toxic waste dumping at Sungai Kim Kim caused a pollution crisis in March. (File pic.)

PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan-run Johor state government did not take to heed the lessons learned from past chemical waste dumping in Sungai Kim Kim, according to former menteri besar Mohd Khaled Nordin.

Khaled said the state government should reveal the cause of the air pollution at Pasir Gudang which had led to the closure of schools and kindergartens, and present a strategic plan to manage such a crisis.

He said the state government had previously reassured the public that they viewed such problems seriously and pledged to streamline procedures and practices.

“I feel quite sad and disappointed to learn the incident was the second involving gas and chemical pollution that affected the lives of people, especially students at schools in Pasir Gudang,” he said in a statement today.

The MP for Pasir Gudang, Hassan Abdul Karim, has urged the government to immediately take over monitoring of air pollution in Pasir Gudang. The federal government should order the closure of factories that produce gas until the situation is resolved.

Khaled urged the Johor government not to cause confusion among the people of Pasir Gudang.

The cause of the air pollution has been attributed to the dumping of chemical toxic waste in the Sungai Kim Kim. The Minister of Housing and Local Government, Zuraida Kamaruddin said an initial investigation found that the contractor assigned to clear the waste did not do a thorough job in clearing the hazardous materials.

The authorities are believed to have narrowed down the suspects to 30 chemical factories that may have caused the air pollution and Johor menteri besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal is reported to have given a directive to the Environment Department and other agencies to find the main polluter.

“Once we have found the factory, we will issue a letter for them to cease their operations until we carry out full investigations,” he was reported to have said.