JOHOR BARU, Dec 3 — Victims of the Sungai Kim Kim pollution are urging the government to reassess the penalties imposed on those accountable for the river contamination as they argue that the punishment is insufficient in light of the considerable suffering experienced by the victims.
This comes after one of the victims, Irfan Wafiy Idham Wazir, 16, continues to endure hardships as he now needs crutches after being diagnosed with Myokymia, a condition causing tremors in certain body parts due to the pollution.
His mother, Norlela Abu Hashim, 50, when contacted by Bernama, said the government should enhance environmental laws and impose heavier fines to deter future pollution offences.
“The penalty must match the severity of the offence, a meagre fine implies the well-being of the affected children is inappropriately valued.
“My son, who, despite five years having elapsed since the incident occurred when he was in Year Six, still relies on crutches as he strives for a full recovery,” said the mother of five.
She said her fourth child, who possesses a strong fighting spirit, still requires maintenance therapy to strengthen his legs.
However, Norlela expressed her gratitude to the Department of Environment (DoE) for handling the case, ensuring that those responsible were successfully proven guilty.
Meanwhile, Mohd Rafee Abdullah, 51, said the pollution continues to impact the health and respiratory issues of his 11-year-old daughter, Nur Akma Darisha Sofea.
He said apart from meting out suitable penalties to the culprits, it is crucial to acknowledge the profound need for medical assistance for the victims.
“My daughter is still undergoing follow-up treatment with a pulmonologist at the hospital. Her attendance at school fluctuates based on her health condition. I hope the government will provide ongoing medical assistance to alleviate the challenges we face.” he said.
The chemical waste pollution incident, which unfolded on March 7, 2019, through the illegal dumping of toxic waste into Sungai Kim Kim, not only shook the nation but also detrimentally impacted the health of over 2,000 individuals. Consequently, 111 schools in Pasir Gudang were compelled to close.
In a statement last night, DoE informed that a lorry driver was fined a maximum of RM100,000 by the Johor Baru Sessions Court on November 30, for causing pollution by the illegal disposal of scheduled waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor in 2019.
Meanwhile, P Tech Resources Sdn Bhd, which faced eight charges under the Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations 2014, was also fined RM40,000 for each charge, resulting in a total fine of RM320,000. — Bernama