Chemical contamination: Students, teachers still traumatised to receive counselling

Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks at a convention for the ministry's administrative staff in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks at a convention for the ministry's administrative staff in Kuala Lumpur March 20, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

JOHOR BARU, March 31 — Students, teachers and school staff around Pasir Gudang who are still traumatised by the chemical contamination incident at Sungai Kim Kim, earlier this month, will be provided counselling.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik said the counselling service, which will be carried out by school counsellors in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department and Sultanah Aminah Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit, will be carried out tomorrow.

“The provision of post-disaster counselling is to assist those who are traumatised by the incident,” he told reporters after officiating the closing of the management and administration course for the Village Community Management Council (MPKK) and Simpang Renggam Pakatan Harapan Community Leaders here, today.

Earlier, Maszlee, who is also Simpang Renggam MP, conducted a post-disaster survey at SMK Pasir Gudang 1, Pasir Gudang.

He said no specific timeframe was set for the counselling sessions, but, for a start, it would be held for the next two to three weeks according to the level of trauma suffered by the victims.

A total of 2,510 students were affected by the incident, with 400 warded, however, all of them have been confirmed to have recovered.

Meanwhile, a National Scheduled Toxic Waste Management Committee will be established by the government to draft a standard operating procedure for chemical pollution disasters.

Department of Environment director-general Datuk Ahmad Kamarulnajuib Che Ibrahim said scope and duties of the new committee were being drafted before being proposed to the Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Environment and Climate Change for approval.

“Among the committee’s functions is to decide on any issues related to toxic waste management in the future.

State Islamic Religious Affairs and Education Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan, meanwhile said he was confident that teachers at all 111 schools in Pasir Gudang which have remained closed since March 13, can cover the syllabus before the examinations.

He said the teachers were professional and well-trained, and they would know how to expedite the teaching of the syllabus to students.

“I am also confident that the students can follow the teaching and learning process as usual, even though they may have to rush a little bit to face the exams,” he told reporters after visiting SMK Pasir Gudang 2, here today. — Bernama

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