JOHOR BARU: The government feels that there is no need to declare Sg Kim Kim and its vicinity as a disaster area or evacuate people.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that it has not yet reached the level which required evacuation.
“The people should have faith in the government in handling this issue.
“The government is doing it to the best of our ability, as this is the first of its kind as it involved gases,” he said after a working visit to the disaster area and to visit victims at the hospital.
Asked whether the worst was over or whether there could be another wave, he said: “We cannot say that the worst is over or whether the situation will improve but what we know is that we know how to handle the problem”.
But residents living in the district are taking action into their own hands by leaving their homes due to the toxic air despite the state government saying the condition is under control.
Mother of five Noor Aishah Ibrahim, 46, sent all her children back to their hometown in Batu Pahat after one of her children showed symptoms of breathing difficulties on Wednesday.
“My son, Muhammad Harris Safwan M. Razali, 16, is one of the victims from SMK Nusa Damai who was rushed for medical treatment in Dewan Taman Pasir Putih.
“The health check said he was alright, so after some rest I bought some coconut drinks to make him feel better,” she said yesterday.
She added that she was waiting for her husband to return from work in Kuantan before going to Batu Pahat to wait until the situation improves.
Another parent, Rahmah Rahmat, 53, said that she never felt such anxiety in protecting her children.
“My house is in Taman Bukit Mawar and I have ensured that all windows remain closed.
“I have also told my children not to sit outside the house,” she said.
Self-employed Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, 47, said he took his three children to Johor Baru to put up in a hotel for safety reasons.
“We have been staying at the hotel since Wednesday night. There is so much confusion over the toxic fume as some claimed it is odourless while others say it smells,” he said.
He added that if the situation prolonged, he would go back to his family’s house in Batu Pahat to wait it out.
Teacher Mahirah Ahmad Helmi, 32, and her two children are now staying at her father-in-law’s house in Kempas following the incident.
“My two daughters showed symptoms such as coughing and red eyes and were treated at the Sultan Ismail Hospital.
“I decided to leave my house and most of my neighbours have also done the same because we do not feel safe staying here,” she said.