PM: No evacuation, declaration of emergency for Pasir Gudang

Ben Tan
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) said the government will not call for an evacuation or an emergency for Pasir Gudang in light of the toxic fumes situation as the situation is under control. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, March 14 — Putrajaya will not declare an emergency or call for an evacuation in Pasir Gudang where hundreds have required medical treatment from inhaling toxic fumes emitted by waste dumped illegally in Sungai Kim Kim last Thursday.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said at the moment, the situation is under control.

“We cannot say the worst is over, on the other hand we don't think it will be more serious. What is important is how we handle the situation,” said Dr Mahathir.

Speaking to reporters after visiting victims of the pollution in Sultan Ismail Hospital, he stressed that the current level does not warrant declaring a state of emergency or evacuating people from Pasir Gudang.

However, he said the people need to be careful.

“Those who are on duty to control and safeguard the situation also need to be prepared for any eventuality,” he said, adding that the people should have faith in the government in handling the situation.

Present during the visit were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian.

Dr Mahathir also noted the seriousness of the incident as the pollution involves gas.

“This is gas and not solid or water. We have never experienced such a situation and we will definitely look into strengthening the current laws,” he said, adding that the situation was the first of its kind in Malaysia.

On the suspect that was scheduled to be charged in court here this morning but was postponed, Dr Mahathir said the authorities need to be certain before taking any action.

“We need to investigate to be certain where the substance originated from,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah were briefed by the state disaster management committee on the cleanup of Sungai Kim Kim, where the chemicals that emitted the toxic fumes were illegally dumped.

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