24 June 2019
Press Statement by MCA Deputy President Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon
Incompetent preventive measures escalate hazard levels in Pasir Gudang
Today marks the sixth day since toxic fumes first began plaguing Pasir Gudang, and two days ago, another approximate 20 students from SMK Nusa Damai started suffering from breathing difficulties and vomiting. Yet, local authorities remain in the dark over the cause of the air pollution in addition to their inability to provide adequate guidelines on self-preservation and prevention for the residents.
It took the Johor government three whole days, before arriving at the decision to order five schools to close for two days. As soon as state exco Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar announced on June 22nd that no new cases were detected, immediately on the next day, 20 new cases of SMK Nusa Damai erupted. Clearly, efforts that went into investigative and preventive works left much to be desired.
The emergence of these new cases indicates that hazard levels have been escalated. The authorities need to as quickly as possible explain to local inhabitants:
What caused the toxic fumes?
The officials on the field in Pasir Gudang were clad in hazmat suits, confirming the severity of the hazard. Are all locals under health risks after being exposed 24 hours without protective equipment?
If the locals are indeed exposed to hazards, why have the authorities not provided any preventive and protective means to them, or as a crisis management measure, evacuate them? Why do the officials need hazmat suits when the common layperson does not?
Additionally, it was a mere three months ago when the Sungai Kim Kim air and water contamination in Pasir Gudang befell, and now we have a very similar airborne contamination happening in the same area. This speaks volumes just about how ineffectual the federal and state governments are with pollution prevention and crisis management — putting the health and lives of people under their administration under constant threat.
Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon
MCA Deputy President