KUALA LUMPUR: Joint enforcement operations will be carried out to shut down illegal factories in Pasir Gudang, says Yeo Bee Yin.
The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc) Minister said the operations would be carried out in one month.
"I had a meeting with the Johor Mentri Besar on Thursday (July 4), and we will be targeting illegal factories.
"In one month, we will have a joint operation to close down all the illegal factories in Pasir Gudang.
"I also urge the MPs here and the people of Pasir Gudang to report to the Department of Environment (DoE) if they have any information on such factories.
"Then we will go to inspect them," she said during the Ministerial Question Time on Thursday (July 4), in response to a question by Hassan Abdul Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang).
He also asked if the minister agreed that the two back-to-back incidents in Pasir Gudang was due to the lack of enforcement by the DoE during the present and previous administrations.
To this, Yeo said after the Sungai Kim Kim incident, enforcement operations by the DoE increased by 300%.
She said there had been a 40% increase in enforcement by the DoE from January to June this year, compared with the same period last year.
"We must have a paradigm shift. We need to do something different from what we have been doing," she said.
The Minister also gave a commitment, saying she would go to Pasir Gudang every week.
She added that the government had also outlined several approaches, including enhancing real-time gas detector monitoring thorough the development of air monitoring stations.
Others include buying tools and equipment for the purpose of monitoring the level of toxic gas in the area, developing a system to analyse and determine carrying capacity of air in the industrial areas in Pasir Gudang.
"As Pasir Gudang is an important industrial hub in Johor, a Pasir Gudang DoE branch will be created to increase the monitoring and enforcement in the area.
"Mestecc, through the DoE will also make it compulsory for industries in Pasir Gudang to comply with several guidelines, among which include installing a Continuous Emission Monitoring System.
"Mestecc will also adopt several schools that are deemed as high-risk, as they are near the factories by providing equipment such as gas detectors and air purifiers," she added.
Yeo denied that the government took its time in responding to the latest chemical pollution in Pasir Gudang. She said many officers have been working around the clock to resolve the incident there.