Johor exco apologises to media shooed away from operation centre

Members of the media work outside the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council building premises March 19, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan
Members of the media work outside the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council building premises March 19, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan

PASIR GUDANG, March 19 — The Johor government has apologised to the media covering the toxic fumes pollution after they were barred from entering the Disaster Control Operation Centre in Menara Aqabah at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council building today.

State Information, Entrepreneurship Development, Cooperatives and Creative Economy Committee chairman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali said the media has been allowed back into the centre to carry on with their work.

“We sincerely apologise for any misunderstanding that happened today and hope that the media fraternity will continue to cover and report the latest updates on the toxic fumes incident,” he said, adding that the state government appreciates the hard work that the media has put in.

He explained the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding.

“The incident occurred when the Tangkak District Council sent contributions for the operation and the centre became congested and tense.

“The officer then ordered the premises to be cleared, where members of the media were also told to leave on orders of the council president,” said Sheikh Umar, after the media demanded an explanation for the expulsion by Pasir Gudang Municipal Council president Zainor Adani.

Sheikh Umar pointed out that the Disaster Control Operation Centre was a restricted area and only media members with proper credentials are allowed to enter.

Earlier today, Malay Mail reported that the reporters covering the Pasir Gudang toxic fumes incident had been barred from entering the media centre at the Disaster Control Operation Centre.

It was reported that more than 4,000 people have been affected and 111 schools closed following the chemical waste incident at Sungai Kim Kim on March 7.