PASIR GUDANG: The Housing and Local Government Ministry will strengthen guidelines on the issuance of licences to factories, especially those involved in the handling of chemicals, says Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Its minister said the ministry would place priority on seeing the matter through as it involved public safety.
Zuraida said it was also a good opportunity to reinforce the monitoring operation of usage and disposal of scheduled chemical waste.
“The first thing is to bolster our enforcement as we are responsible for the local government, which has the power to issue licences to factories involved in chemical processing.
“The disposal of such materials should be monitored.
“Although the licence-issuing is done by the local authorities, the Department of Environment (DOE) should also make sure that the factories adhere to environmental laws,” she told reporters after visiting the medical base that closed operations at Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium yesterday.
In order to implement the matter, a meeting involving the local authority and the DOE would be held, Zuraida added.
“We will ensure a coordination meeting between the local government, the DOE and all agencies involved in approving and granting factory operating licences so that the Sungai Kim Kim incident will not be repeated,” she said.
She also said 153 fire personnel from all over the country had been involved in the Sungai Kim Kim operation since March 7, including 70 Hazmat Unit personnel who specialised in handling chemicals.
“I would like to congratulate all the parties involved in this operation for their efforts in monitoring the situation, which we managed to bring under control within two weeks.
“As for the victims, there are two patients still receiving treatment in intensive care, while eight others are in the normal ward,” Zuraida said.
The Sungai Kim Kim medical base was officially closed at 12.30pm yesterday.