JOHOR BARU: Three men, including two company owners, have been arrested in relation to the chemical waste dump in Sungai Kim Kim here, which led to 79 people being treated after inhaling hazardous fumes.
State Department of Environment (DoE) director Datuk Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh said the arrest was conducted in a joint operation between DoE and the police.
“The first suspect is the owner of a chemical processing factory at Kulai, while the second suspect is the owner and worker of a waste processing factory in Pasir Putih.
“The first suspect was arrested at about 7pm on Sunday (March 10) while the two other suspects were arrested at 12.30pm on Monday (March 11),” he said, adding that all suspects are aged between 40 and 50.
Mohammad Ezanni was met by reporters during a visit to the waste processing factory at Jalan Selar 1, Pasir Putih here on Monday.
Also present was state Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal.
He added that the DoE is still in the process of opening investigation papers, aside from investigations by the police.
He also said that the DoE had received the report from the Chemical Department on Sunday morning, leading to the identification of the first suspect.
“We are currently waiting for another report to identify if the chemical compound at the waste processing company is the same found in the river.
“The arrest on the second suspect was made after a public tip-off, informing DoE about their activity. We immediately raided the factory and found black chemical liquid that has been packed and ready to be dispose.
“The worker of the company has confessed that the waste was going to be disposed into the river, which is located 500m from the factory,” he said.
The case is being investigated under Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act, which carries a fine of not more than RM500,000, or up to five years' jail, upon conviction.
“We hope that prosecution can be done by this week, but that depends on the approval of the deputy prosecutor,” he said, adding that the two companies had been impounded.