Announced charging of Pasir Gudang toxic waste suspect postponed

Sahruddin said the suspect will only be charged when prosecutors are satisfied with the papers. — Reuters pic
Sahruddin said the suspect will only be charged when prosecutors are satisfied with the papers. — Reuters pic

JOHOR BARU, March 14 — Prosecutors delayed today charges against a man for illegally dumping toxic waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang last week that caused hundreds to seek medical treatment.

Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change And Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin announced yesterday that the man would be charged today.

It was learnt that the suspect was to be charged at the Magistrate’s Court here this morning under Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal confirmed the delay.

“The state Deputy Public Prosecutors Office has directed the Department of Environment (DOE) for more details in the investigation papers,” he said when contacted today.

Dr Sahruddin said that based on his discussion with Johor DOE director Datuk Muhammad Ezzani Mat Salleh, the suspect will only be charged when prosecutors are satisfied with the papers.

Yeo announced the matter after visiting the Pasir Gudang area polluted by illegally dumped chemicals yesterday.

She also said she had contacted Attorney General Tommy Thomas about the possibility of bringing multiple charges against the suspect due to the severity of the offence.

More than 500 people, many of them students, have sought medical treatment and have been warded in hospital after inhaling the toxic fumes emanating from the waste.

The Education Ministry has also closed 111 schools indefinitely due to the contamination.