KEEPING THEM HONEST SERIES – ILLEGAL DUMPING & FACTORIES – WHO’S IN CHARGE? (Part 2)
The best form of idiocy, stupidity, incompetence, lack of professionalism and fear comes forth when Malaysian policymakers are caught out in ‘double speak’ when facing a challenge and this is no different!
They love the honorifics, the perks of office, the ‘syiok sendiri’ attention from the media, which all gives a false sense of importance until they are caught on record making statements that are really stupid and foolish!
It reminded me of those early days, after we lost MH370 (9M-MRO) when we have numerous political, civil service operatives, the security apparatus and corporate personalities falling over each other with their incompetent communications minders trying to protect them from hard questions from a well-oiled and war zone prepared international media group as they made statements after statements that made no sense which is confirmed today – March 15th 2019!
Some are still at it today thinking they did great?
Fast forward Johor!
Now we are faced with a major man-made disaster, (pix 2012 & 2017 above from Johor Malaysian Nature Society) which has impacted an Industrial area called Pasir Gudang in Johor with actual figures changing depending on who you are speaking to!
But first let us state the facts!
On 13 Mar 2019, was there a statement made by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Yeo Bee Yin that one of three men suspected to have dumped chemical waste in Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang is to be charged in court the next day?
It was reported that the said minister had also stated that the ‘completed investigation papers have been sent to the office of the deputy public prosecutor for evaluation and consideration.’
That she has been in contact with attorney-general Tommy Thomas on the possibility of bringing multiple charges against the suspect due to the serious nature of the offense and inadequacy of the penalty.
Is this a fact?
We are confused as today Police have denied arresting any individuals in relation to suspected toxic waste dumping in Pasir Gudang.
This was after being asked about previous reports that three individuals had been arrested over the toxic pollution in Pasir Gudang.
But inexplicably Malaysia’s top cop – the IGP Mohamad Fuzi Harun (above pix) is reported to have stated as follows:
“We never said (anything about arrests); someone else said it but the police have made no arrests,”
So if there has been no arrest, can the said minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, please go on record and clear the air!
If no one has been arrested, charged to date, why talk about that upon conviction, the person can be sentenced to a maximum of five years’ jail and fined RM500,000 under Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and so forth?
Quite premature certainly!
This is no laughing matter as public interest demands accountability and good governance to be the order of the day let alone the need for information and updates released being truthful and not the figment of some politician’s mind games or imaginations!
It is super serious because the Johor state government has approved an emergency allocation of RM6.4 million to clean up Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang.
The work will involve cleaning up a 1.5km stretch of the river that has been polluted with chemical wastes!
That is not all, as my beloved Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has pledged RM1 million to help the authorities address the chemical pollution crisis in Pasir Gudang.
The seriousness is highlighted when beloved Johor Permaisuri Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah has waded in on these issues concerning the community stating that the contribution from Sultan Ibrahim would enable rescue agencies and authorities involved in operations to arm their respective teams with the necessary equipment.
One should also bear in mind that in a previous statement, Sultan Ibrahim expressed unhappiness at irresponsible parties who dumped chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim, adversely affecting students and members of the public.
He wanted the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and to take firm action against those involved.
This comes as there are voices calling for an emergency to be declared with the politicians reluctant to initiate!
In response, Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said she has no power to unilaterally declare an emergency, but promised to forward the matter to the committee in charge.
But, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says that the government will evaluate the extent of the situation at Pasir Gudang in Johor first before deciding on the need to declare a state of emergency, lest such a move leads to a wave of “panic attack”.
Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad stressed that there is no need to declare an emergency in the wake of the Pasir Gudang toxic chemical waste pollution crisis, after visiting Johor as the situation was under control according to feedback given him by others?
But HRH the Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is shocked that the government is not declaring an emergency in Pasir Gudang over the chemical waste pollution incident.
Tunku Ismail said the government should at least evacuate the people in the affected areas until the situation becomes stable and safe.
And he is right, as there are more than two thousand people affected and an emergency initiated will facilitate both a national and if needed an international response end to end to not just address the present challenges in Johor but similar issues in other states!
To date, 2,775 people have sought treatment at several hospitals in Johor due to the incident, with seven of them in the Intensive Care Unit.
It also led to the Education Ministry directing the closure of all 111 schools in the Pasir Gudang district as a precautionary measure.
A total of 92 kindergartens and nurseries in affected areas have also followed suit.
I fully endorse an emergency footing as at the end of the exercise, we can have a blue print to launch across Malaysia in regard to regulating the creation process, indiscriminate storing, movement and dumping of toxic materials!
A high powered task-force should also be set up to declare war on those involved in the indiscriminate storing, movement and dumping of toxic materials!
So far this incident which began on March 7 and under the control of various government agencies while in positive engagement needs more bite.
What we are doing is containment but what I will push for is a double response, one containment and the other going on the offensive against the perpetrators and intending perpetrators that this will never reoccur in Malaysia again!
For that to happen there needs to be one person in charge – who will be in the center of the process, the optics, making tough decisions no matter how difficult or challenging it is, updating both HRH Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and from where I stand, I see again as I did during the MH370 (9M-MRO) 2014 saga, there is none!