PM drops Putrajaya event to survey Pasir Gudang contamination

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 12, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 12, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad scheduled an impromptu visit to Johor today to personally inspect the Pasir Gudang district hit by contamination from illegally dumped chemicals.

He postponed a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia engagement this evening in order to depart for Johor on a 4pm flight and is expected to arrive at the Senai International Airport at 5pm.

He had been scheduled to hand out PPBM membership cards to former Umno Sabah MPs who joined, at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya. This will now be held at 4pm tomorrow.

As of today, the illegal dumping of toxic waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor has forced the indefinite closure of all 111 schools in the area and caused 506 people to seek medical treatment.

Out of the total, 166 people were hospitalised and nine are in critical condition. No deaths have yet been reported.

The Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Ministry had announced a RM6.4 million allocation to clean up the 1.5-km stretch of the river currently polluted.

On March 6, a tanker lorry had dumped toxic chemicals into the river, under a bridge connecting Taman Pasir Putih and Taman Kota Masai.

The location was just roughly half a kilometre away from the first affected schools: SK Taman Pasir Putih, and SMK Pasir Putih.

One of three suspects arrested had been scheduled to be charged this morning, but prosecutors deferred this in order to build a stronger case.

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