JOHOR BARU: Two groups have filed lawsuits amounting to RM30mil against the state and federal governments as well as 10 other parties over the Sungai Kim Kim pollution incident.
The first group consists of 42 Pasir Gudang residents, including school children, who filed a RM20mil lawsuit, while the second group comprising 129 fishermen from seven villages filed a RM10mil lawsuit.
Both suits named 12 defendants, including the federal and state governments, former Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian, former Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal (now Johor Mentri Besar), Department of Environment and its former director Datuk Dr Ezzani Mat Salleh and Pasir Gudang Municipal Council president Zainor Adani.
Also named as defendants were the company accused of causing the pollution, two of its directors, Yap Yoke Liang and Singaporean Wang Jing Choa as well as its lorry driver N. Maridass.
Maridass was charged in the Sessions Court for illegally disposing chemicals into Sungai Kim Kim while Yap and Wang are accused of conspiring with him.
All three were charged under Section 34b(1)(a) of the Environment Quality Act 1974, while Yap and Wang were also charged under Section 42 of the same Act.
Lawyer Kamaruddin Ahmad, who led the two groups, said that both suits were filed at the Johor Baru High Court on Tuesday.
“Plaintiffs for the first suit are seeking a court order for the defendants to pay for their medical examination costs for three years, starting from the date of judgment.
“They are also seeking a court order for the defendants to pay for the medical fees of plaintiffs who suffered health problems caused by the pollution for 10 years,” he added.
Among the plaintiffs included 12-year-old Irfan Wafiy Idham Wazir, who is diagnosed with myokymia believed to be caused by the toxic pollution, and his parents Idham Wazir A. Wahab, 49, and Norlela Abu Hashim, 45.
“Plaintiffs for the second suit are seeking compensation between RM15,000 and RM30,000 each for losses endured due to the pollution in Sungai Kim Kim.
“Since March, the fishermen had suffered great losses as customers were afraid to buy fish coming from Sungai Kim Kim, which is the river they depend on for fishing,” he said.
In March, toxic pollution in Sungai Kim Kim resulted in over 4,000 people falling ill, which also saw the temporary closure of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang district.