Johor Baru: Fresh from urging the Government to quickly investigate the people behind the illegal dumping of chemicals in Pasir Gudang, Johor’s Sultan took a step further by pledging RM1 million (S$ 332,000) in support of the endeavors to provide solutions to the problems created by the dumping.
Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar decision to do so was motivated by an audio recording he had heard while discussing the matter with his wife, Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, who is the Royal Adviser to the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.
The recording was that of a tearful father asking for help for his child, who had been one of the victims from the fumes of the noxious chemicals that was unlawfully dumped into Sungai Kim Kim.
This strengthened his resolve to aid the affected people, who now number more than 500, which includes the 166 people who have been or are still currently hospitalised. Nine people remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) because of exposure to the poisonous fumes, which came from chemicals dumped into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang on Thursday last week, March 7.
Since March 13, Wednesday, all of the 111 schools in Pasir Gudang have been temporarily shut and will remain closed until further notice.
Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah said, “Tuanku Sultan was discussing this with me as Royal Adviser to the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and he was deeply moved when he heard an audio recording of a crying man pleading for help for his child.
With his personal contribution, Tuanku Sultan thinks it will help the authorities and rescue agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department and the Royal Malaysia Police to equip their teams to help the people,” according to a statement from the Royal Press Office posted on the Sultan’s Facebook account on Thursday morning, March 14.
A few days ago, the Sultan did not hesitate to show his deep displeasure and even anguish at the chemical dumping, which caused hundreds of people to be hospitalized, including young people.
Many of the victims were students of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Taman Pasir Putih and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Pasir Putih. All these schools are located near the river where the chemicals were dumped.
“These are innocent schoolchildren, teachers, and health workers … don’t those responsible feel any remorse at the thought that children in the ICU are fighting for their lives?” he said.
The country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, is visiting Pasir Gudang on Thursday, March 14 (today), to assess the situation in order to determine if a state of emergency should be called. Meetings between relevant agencies and the state government will be conducted before the decision is announced.
The New Straits Times reports her as saying, “I will be in Pasir Gudang in the evening to look at the current situation and how to deal with the matter, which includes emergency. (sic) As of now, the problem is considered to be of state-level. It has to be a national-level.
This is something worrying and we need to take all measures necessary to ensure the safety of the people especially children. We must consider how to resolve the issue. We do not want to create panic,” Dr Wan Azizah said to the press.
If an evacuation is necessary, Dr Wan Azizah said the Government would be prepared to conduct it.
“We also want to take action as recommended by the (Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin ) minister.”
She added that the Government also wants to take action in order to ensure that such incidents do not recur.