Sungai Kim Kim lawsuit: My son has not recovered from myokymia, says plaintiff's father

JOHOR BAHRU: The father of one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the Sungai Kim Kim pollution told the High Court on Monday (Jan 22) that his son is still suffering from myokymia after the 2019 incident.

Myokymia causes tremors and weaknesses in various parts of the body.

Idham Wazir A Wahab, 53, the father to Irfan Wafiy, who is the first plaintiff, said his son's legs still twitch and he frequently experiences leg cramps.

"Irfan Wafy is now studying at the Johor Bahru Mara Science Junior College in Bandar Seri Alam and obtained 4A in recent exams," he said when questioned by lawyer Walter Pereira, appearing for Irfan Wafiy, 17 and 41 other plaintiffs on the first day of the RM30mil lawsuit over the river pollution incident.

According to Idham Wazir, the last time his son received treatment was before the movement control order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Until now, there has been no follow-up treatment from Kuala Lumpur Hospital, while the doctor who attended to him has retired.

"The doctor said there was no cure for the disease and no record of it in Malaysia. So, the doctor prescribed medication on a trial-and-error basis based on overseas cases. The medication is not suitable for my son... it makes him sleepy," he said.

Lawyers Datuk Kamarudin Ahmad and Radiah Karim represent all the plaintiffs, while Senior Federal Counsel Mohamed Azzam Zainal Abidin, who is also the Assistant State Legal Advisor for Johor, represents the Johor government, Menteri Besar and state health, environment and agriculture committee chairman.

Senior Federal Counsels Zetty Zurina Kamaruddin, Nurul Farhana Khalid and Safiyyah Omar appear for the Environment Department director-general and the Malaysian government, while lawyers Phang Soon Mun, Chew Chun Wei and Yvonne Chai Yi Wen represent P Tech Resources Sdn Bhd (P Tech Resources).

Judge Datuk Seri Samsulbahri Ibrahim set the hearing to continue on June 2, Aug 18 and 19, as well as Oct 14 and 15.

The plaintiffs, comprising pupils and the public, filed the suit in July 2019. They named 12 defendants, including the Johor government, the state Environment Department and Irrigation and Drainage Department, P Tech Resources, one of its workers and two company directors.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants failed to ensure the safety and protection of the Pasir Gudang residents from the threat of toxic pollution and accuse them of failing to mobilise the state Disaster Management Committee to address the poisonous pollution of Sungai Kim Kim.

As a result, Irfan Wafiy suffered severe injuries to the legs, rendering him unable to walk normally, while other plaintiffs experienced symptoms such as coughing, breathing difficulties, chest pain, headaches and injuries to the eyes, affecting their vision.

The plaintiffs are seeking general, special and aggravated damages and an order for the first defendant (Johor government) to cover the health examination costs for each plaintiff for three years from the date of judgment.

The Sungai Kim Kim pollution incident broke out in March 2019, affecting the health of over 2,000 people and leading to the closure of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang.

On Nov 30 last year, the court fined a lorry driver RM100,000 for causing pollution by illegally disposing of scheduled waste into the river.

The court also fined P Tech Resources a total of RM320,000 for eight charges under the Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations 2014. – Bernama

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