Education minister mulling closure of Johor schools over toxic fumes

Sultan Ismail Hospital medical assistants on standby to receive those who a taken ill due to fume inhalation at the hospital’s emergency and trauma unit today. — Picture by Ben Tan
Sultan Ismail Hospital medical assistants on standby to receive those who a taken ill due to fume inhalation at the hospital’s emergency and trauma unit today. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, March 12 — The Ministry of Education will take into consideration proposals from various quarters before making the decision to close down all schools located along Sungai Kim Kim, following the toxic fumes incident last Thursday.

Its minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, said the ministry will hear out the recommendations of various parties in a briefing this evening before deciding on the matter, for the safety of pupils, students and staff of the schools.

“Currently four schools have been closed and the closure period will depend on reviews by the relevant parties based on their professional judgment.

“As for the other schools, we will decide after the recommendations of various parties including the Fire and Rescue Department this evening,” he told a press conference after visiting victims of the incident at the Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) today.

Maszlee said 266 victims were being treated at HSI while 42 others were at the Sultan Aminah Hospital.

“Of the 42 victims, five are at the critical zone, 19 at the yellow zone while 18 are at the green zone. Thirty-five of them are students while the rest are public members,” he said.

“I am disturbed and saddened by this incident because the irresponsible act has caused the students, teachers and workers to suffer,” he said. 

“We will cooperate with the authorities to ensure that the parties responsible in dumping the toxic wastes are brought to justice,” he said.

The chemical waste dumping incident at Sungai Kim Kim last Thursday has so far affected four schools in Pasir Gudang. — Bernama