KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong has lambasted authorities in Johor for their poor handling of the chemical dumping incident in Sg Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang.
“The people are angry and want action to be taken against those responsible.
“However, all of a sudden there was a news report that the case was postponed,” he told reporters in Parliament yesterday.
He said it was clear from the provisions of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 that the culprits could be charged, not only for polluting the river, but also illegal dumping of scheduled waste.
Authorities yesterday said there would be a delay in bringing charges against the owner of an illegal tyre-recycling centre believed to be responsible for dumping chemicals and causing the health crisis.
Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said investigation papers had already been sent to the Deputy Public Prosecutor’s Office, but there was a request for more information.
Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, said he had received many calls from anxious Johoreans wanting to know what was being done to ensure their safety.
He said the lack of updates added to the fears of those living in the affected areas.
“There must be clear standard operating procedures to inform the community on how to deal with the incident to avoid more panic.
“The Johor Mentri Besar’s advice for residents to stay put and close their doors was laughable,” he added.
Dr Wee also expressed disappointment that advice from Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid went unheeded.
An online portal quoted Mohammad Hamdan as saying there would not have been a second wave of toxic gas pollution if the waste had been immediately removed and cleaned up.
“He (Mohammad) had told the state authorities to clean up the river but was told that it would involve a high cost.
“Why talk about saving cost when it leads to even greater health danger,” Dr Wee said.
He said the Johor government should have requested financial aid from the federal government to clean up the river if it lacked the funds to do so.