Johor MB defends working trip to Batam, says it was planned before chemical disaster


PASIR GUDANG: Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian has defended his one-day working trip to Batam island at Riau province in Indonesia.  

The Kempas assemblyman said that the working visit on Friday (March 15) had been planned prior to the Pasir Gudang chemical dumping incident, adding that the trip was to boost  cooperation between local tourism and industry players with their Indonesian counterparts especially in Batam.

"The working trip is supposed to be for three days but we shortened it to less than a day for the urgent need in managing the cleaning operation here.  

"I cancelled several discussions during the trip but there were several important meetings that could not be avoided and had to be carried out as part of the government's preparation in welcoming the Visit Johor Year 2020.  

"I would like to thank Batam Wali Kota, Muhammad Rudi for being understanding on why several meetings had to be cancelled or shortened due to the disaster here," he said in a statement on Sunday (March 17).  

Osman said the Indonesian authorities he met also expressed their sadness over what had happened here.  

"Throughout the time I was in Batam, the disaster management committee was in constant contact with me every two hours to ensure that operations ran smoothly," he added.  

Osman, who is also the Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Pakatan Harapan chairman, said he hopes his explanation would put an end to the misunderstanding and confusion among the rakyat.  

He also thanked staff and agencies who worked round-the-clock in managing the crisis.