By Veronica Cordoba
The Johor Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has taken the state government and federal agencies to task over the second outbreak of chemical pollution in Pasir Gudang.
He described the mishandling of the outbreak as “despicable and a total disgrace”, adding that politicians and officials issued assurances that all was okay.
“But barely three months later, the people of Johor is faced with this issue again,” he says in a statement published in The Star today.
He says this shows “complete flaws and weaknesses, if incompetence” in the state and federal handling of disaster management.
The Sultan says he would summon the leaders of state and federal bodies to answer to these incidents.
The new outbreak took place in the same place and in the same state two months after the first incident.
“I do not want to be hoodwinked again and again by empty assurances,” in the exclusive interview with The Star.
State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar says the air quality and pollution index reading at the affected site showed no signs of pollution.
The Department of Environment in Johor has initiated investigation on at least 38 industrial factories operating in Pasir Gudang.
The department says they were investigated for non-compliance and flouting the department’s laws, following the recent toxic fume pollution.
The Islamists Party Islam Se-Malaysia has also attacked the state, saying the incident reflects the weaknesses of state and Federal Government agencies in carrying out enforcement
The Johor PAS deputy commissioner Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya says it was rare for two pollution-related incidents to happen in the same place, albeit from different sources, within a couple of months.
A total of 475 education institutions in Pasir Gudang including 111 primary and secondary schools, three higher education institutions, 14 private and international schools and 347 private kindergartens registered with the state Education Department were ordered to close for three days following the latest incident, The Star says.
To second outbreak happened on June 20, affecting more than 100 students and forcing many schools to close.
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