KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — A total of 507 people, including 10 in critical condition, are still receiving treatment at hospitals today for gas poisoning due to the chemical pollution of Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor.
According to the Health Ministry, 230 people were warded at Hospital Sultanah Aminah, 109 in Hospital Sultan Ismail plus 10 in the intensive care unit (ICU) there, 82 at KPJ Pasir Gudang, 27 at Hospital Regency, seven at Hospital Penawar, and 42 at Hospital Permai.
“The Johor State Health Department (JKNJ) wants to stress that until now, no deaths were caused by the toxic waste dump in Johor Baru,” JKNJ director Dr Selahuddeen Abd Aziz said in a statement today.
Police reportedly denied today making any arrests related to the alleged chemical waste dump in Sungai Kim Kim.
“We never said (anything about arrests); someone else said it but the police have made no arrests,” Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying in Kuala Lumpur.
Prosecutors yesterday postponed charges against a man suspected of illegally dumping chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim, after the Johor Department of Environment reportedly announced that three people, including two factory owners, were arrested.
Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has criticised the federal government’s decision not to declare an emergency over the poisoning of over 1,500 people in Johor Baru after two factories allegedly dumped marine oil, which emitted benzene and methane fumes, into Sungai Kim Kim.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad told Dewan Rakyat yesterday that 1,568 cases of sickness were reported from March 7 to March 13 due to the chemical pollution in Pasir Gudang, out of which 1,171 were treated as outpatients.
“MOH has taken action since the first day of the incident by giving treatment, be it serious or light cases. Therefore, there was no issue of delayed action,” Dzulkefly said.
“MOH always ensures a sufficient supply of medicines, equipment, and human resources to handle this situation.”
A total of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang were closed after toxic fumes sickened hundreds of schoolchildren.