JOHOR BAHRU: Thirteen schools in the Pasir Gudang area have been ordered to close starting Wednesday (Mar 13) after hundreds fell ill after a suspected illegal toxic waste dumping in a river in Johor.
The 13 include the four that had been shut earlier.
The other schools are Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Pasir Putih, SK Kota Masai 2, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kota Masai 2, SK Kota Masai 3, SMK Kota Masai, SK Kota Masai, SK Perigi Acheh, Kampung Pasir Putih religious school and Taman Pasir Putih religious school.
State Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said the decision was made at a meeting discussing how to deal with the incident at Kim Kim River.
"At the meeting, it was decided that the Johor education departments would close several schools until further notice," said Dr Sahruddin in a statement.
He said that that the authorities would appoint a contractor to carry out cleaning works on a 1.5km stretch along the river. This would be an extension of the cleaning works that were conducted on Mar 7 and Mar 8, he added.
Dr Sahruddin also advised members of the public not to enter the areas affected by the cleaning works.
JOHOR SULTAN ORDERS ACTION
The Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Iskandar ordered the authorities on Tuesday to act against those responsible for dumping the toxic waste, asking for a thorough investigation.
He also thanked the medical teams for tirelessly working to treat those who were affected, including patients at the Sultan Ismail Hospital.
“As a result of the irresponsible act, hundreds of people, including students and pupils, had to be rushed to hospital. In fact, some had to fight for their lives in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit)!" said the ruler in a statement on his Facebook page.
“These are my people and I will not let this continue. I urge all government authorities to quickly arrest and penalise the offenders,” he added.
The sultan advised the people, especially the residents in the area of the incident, to exercise caution at all times and immediately seek treatment if they feel unwell.
“The schools should not be reopened so long as the situation is really not safe for the students and teachers. Cut down on much movement outdoors,” he said.