JOHOR BAHRU: On behalf of the Johor state government, Menteri Besar Sahruddin Jamal today apologised to the people of Pasir Gudang who were affected by air pollution in the area since June 20.
He said there was indeed room for improvement in addressing the incident.
“As the head of the state government, I humbly apologise to the people of Pasir Gudang and pledge to work on overcoming our weaknesses,” he said at a townhall meeting at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium, here.
According to Sahruddin, the state government had already taken various measures to ensure the safety and health of schoolchildren and proper protection for all affected residents.
“We deeply regret and are saddened by the fact that all those development projects planned for this town did not take into account the sustainability and long-term impact on the people in Pasir Gudang.
“Let’s not play the blame game because it won’t solve the problem. From today onwards, we will take the responsibility to find the best solution to this problem so that it will not recur,” he said.
However, the menteri besar said the problem could not be solved overnight, as the solution must be designed with great care in the interests of all parties for the benefit of future generations.
Therefore, he also expressed hope that through the townhall session, he would be able to inform the public of the actual situation regarding the pollution in Pasir Gudang.
This is important, he said, so that it does not continue to be questioned by the community while ending the negative speculation on the government’s actions.
“It is also hoped to open up a space for the exchange of ideas, opinions, feedback and suggestions from those involved in dealing with the issues at hand,” he added.
Hundreds of students and teachers have been affected by the incident of vomiting and shortness of breath believed to be due to pollution in the Pasir Gudang area since June 20.
Meanwhile, about 100 Pasir Gudang residents held a peaceful gathering at the indoor stadium as a protest against the state government over the incident.
The rally was held about an hour before the townhall session.