JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The Johor government is still unsure what caused the Malaysian state’s latest air pollution incident, which saw 15 people – including 13 students – facing breathing difficulties and vomiting last Thursday (June 20).
Menteri Besar Sahruddin Jamal said the authorities were still investigating the cause of the incident in Pasir Gudang.
“We do not know why the students suddenly feel nauseous and fainted,” Datuk Sahruddin told reporters on Sunday.
“However, we hope to get a clearer picture over what really happened when we obtain the blood test results by Monday (June 24),” he added.
The incident occurred at two schools – Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar and SK Pasir Gudang 4 – at about 3.40pm last Thursday.
It was reported that the state government had ordered three schools and two kindergartens in Taman Mawar in Pasir Gudang to be closed for two days from Sunday.
In addition to Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar and SK Pasir Gudang 4, another school, SMK Pasir Gudang 2, as well as kindergartens Tadika Pasti and Tadika Pintar Bistari have also been ordered to be shut.
Dr Sahruddin also said on Sunday that the state government would also be discussing with the Federal Town and Country Planning Department to set up a committee to study the location of residential and industrial areas.
“This committee will study the residential and industrial areas in Pasir Gudang, as they are located nearby one another,” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad told reporters that another two students from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar had been admitted to hospital after suffering breathing difficulties but were in stable condition. This brings the total number of cases to date from the school to 18.
State Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said on Saturday that the move to shut the schools involved some 3,000 people, but that it would be necessary.
He also said the air quality readings recorded by the authorities over the previous two days had showed it to be normal but will be monitored until Monday.
In March, the toxic pollution in Sungai Kim Kim resulted in more than 4,000 people falling ill.
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