A state of emergency could soon be declared in the industrial town of Pasir Gudang in Johor, Malaysia — the site of an illegal chemical dump. Hundreds of residents have reported illness, and 111 schools have been closed due to the after-effects of dumping waste into the nearby Sungai Kim Kim (Kim Kim River).
While the Sultan of Johor has pledged RM 1 million (US$250,000) towards efforts to aid the authorities in the matter, help on the ground also came from an unexpected party: popular Singaporean comedian Muhammad Fadzri Abd Rashid, who goes by the name Fakkah Fuzz.
The 32-year-old mobilized a DIY effort to help out at Pasir Gudang, and yesterday he arrived in the town to deliver loads of N95 respirator face masks — most of which have been sold out in the area due to high demand. In his post, Fadzri assured that he and his friends are still gathering resources to help out, including a plan to acquire the stronger R95 respirator face masks, which can filter airborne oil-based particles.
“Let’s help our neighbors!!!” the man urged.
The chemical crisis
Coconuts KL reported that children in Pasir Gudang have borne the brunt of the fumes, with 160 admitted to hospital. Out of the total of 506 people who sought treatment, nine are currently in intensive care.
Authorities believe that over a week ago, a lorry dumped the waste in the river, sending hazardous fumes into a wide-ranging area surrounding the site. Those suffering from the toxic wafts of air have reported nausea and vomiting. It is not clear what type of gas is poisoning the residents of Pasir Gudang.
Johor’s highly revered Sultan, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, has expressed his outrage over the incident and called for the authorities to conduct a full-scale investigation to bring swift justice to the culprit(s).
“These are innocent schoolchildren, teachers, and health workers… don’t those responsible feel any remorse at the thought that children in the ICU are fighting for their lives?” he questioned.
The motion for the federal government to declare a state of emergency in Pasir Gudang has commenced in Malaysia’s parliament.
With words by Coconuts KL