JOHOR BAHRU: The Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Iskandar on Tuesday (Mar 19) announced that he was cancelling two birthday events in light of the Pasir Gudang waste pollution incident.
In a statement issued to the Royal Press Office and posted on Facebook, the Sultan said he had cancelled a royal tea reception and a state banquet scheduled for next week, as he was saddened by seeing his "rakyat" (people) suffering from chemical waste pollution in Pasir Gudang.
“Many are adversely affected by the chemical pollution due to actions of irresponsible parties, and some are still being treated at the Intensive Care Unit while the schools are still closed," he said.
“I cancelled these two events because I don’t want to be in a joyous occasion when my people are facing difficulty and suffering."
Cancelling the events will enable officials and agencies to focus on clean-up operations, he added.
“As we all know, many personnel who are also civil servants - including the security forces and medical teams - are involved in the cleaning operations, and I really value their commitment and dedication," he said.
“Therefore, I think it is reasonable to cancel these events for the sake of the people and the task force who have been working hard regardless (of) the time."
Last week, the Sultan pledged RM1 million (US$244,700) to help aid efforts, after the suspected illegal waste dumping at Pasir Gudang left hundreds of people ill.
The incident prompted the education ministry to shut all 111 schools in the area, while the federal parliament debated a motion on whether to declare a state of emergency (only to later decide against this).
The Sultan's royal tea reception was originally scheduled for Mar 24 while the state banquet was scheduled for Mar 25.