JOHOR BAHRU: Fifteen students from a school in Pasir Gudang, Johor fell ill on Thursday (Jun 20) due to possible exposure to poisonous gas, said Malaysia’s Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.
Emergency services were alerted to the incident at Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar at about 3.40pm.
Fifteen students had breathing difficulties and were vomiting. Five of them were taken to hospital.
A hazardous material team was sent to the school, said Pasir Gudang Fire and Rescue station chief Ibrahim Omar.
Speaking at a press conference later on Thursday, the health minister said his ministry is closely monitoring the situation, and that "everything is under control".
“The symptoms look like a possibility of poisonous gas or those volatile organic gas volatile compound ... just like the Sungai Kim Kim’s incident," Dr Dzulkefly said, adding that the ministry has been in touch with Johor Health Department director Selahudden Abdul Aziz on the matter.
Asked if the school would be ordered to close, Dr Dzulkefly said it was still to early to make a decision.
“I’m going to see the information … kind of toxicity ... and all those like level of exposure and toxicity needs to be looked into.
“What is important is our Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Johor (Johor Health Department) is working very diligently. They have been alerted and they are on the ground addressing this,” he said.
In March, more than 4,000 people fell ill and 111 schools were shut in Pasir Gudang district due to chemical pollution in Sungai Kim Kim from the illegal dumping of waste.
Two directors of tyre processing company P Tech Resources, as well as a lorry driver, have been accused of illegally dumping chemicals.