JOHOR BAHRU: The Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Iskandar has pledged RM1 million (US$244,700) to help aid efforts after a suspected illegal toxic waste dumping in Pasir Gudang left more than 500 people ill.
"HM The Permaisuri of Johor, Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, said Sultan Ibrahim is deeply saddened by the tragedy," the royal Johor press office said in a statement on Thursday (Mar 14).
The Sultan was "especially affected" by an audio recording of a crying man pleading for help for his child, said the queen.
“The contribution is for the fire and rescue department, police and other government agencies to purchase whatever is necessary to help victims."
Malaysia's education ministry on Wednesday ordered all 111 schools in Pasir Gudang to shut after the suspected chemical leak left hundreds of people ill with methane poisoning.
As of 8pm on Wednesday, more than 940 people have sought treatment for shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, said Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Sahruddin Jamal.
The Sultan on Tuesday ordered authorities to act against those responsible for dumping the toxic waste and asked for a thorough investigation.
Separately, Johor chief minister Osman Sapian said on Thursday that the situation is under control and there is no need to declare a state of emergency in the area.
The situation has stabilised and cleaning works at the site are ongoing and should be completed within a week, the New Straits Times reported Osman as saying.
Osman, who is also the chairman of the state disaster management committee, also said the state government has approved an emergency allocation of RM6.4 million for the cleaning works and as assistance to the victims.