Pasir Gudang Spill: Malaysia's Parliament Considering State Of Emergency As Victims Ballooned To 2,775

Pasir Gudang
An ambulance enters a primary school after following a suspected chemical leak last week in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia March 13, 2019. (Photo: INSTAGRAM/@NAILYY___ via REUTERS)

The Malaysian Parliament debated whether to declare the state of emergency over the methane poisoning that was said to have resulted from the illegal dumping of chemical waste materials in the river along Pasir Gudang. The factories in the area's industrial town are being blamed for the crisis. 

According to Channel News Asia, the number of victims has now risen to 2,775 as of March 14. Currently, 1,906 cases were recorded coming from two medical facilities in Pasir Gudang while the other 869 have received treatment in other hospitals and clinics around Johor Bahru.

Malaysia's National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) revealed that at least 390 people are still being treated in hospitals. Out of these affected people, it was reported that ten of them are in the intensive care unit.

Many of the victims were school children. They have inhaled the dangerous chemical fumes while in school and displayed symptoms of vomiting and nausea. Now, the Parliament wants to declare the state of emergency due to the growing number of cases.

"We will have a meeting first for us to consider the options because we have other measures that can address the problem," The Sun Daily quoted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as saying during the Parliament meeting. "We will have to get to the bottom of this thing, we will consider the measures needed for the time being, as well as mid- and long-term action."

However, Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad said that there is no need for the state of emergency to be declared as the chemical spill is now under control, Malaysia Kini reported. While there will be no declaration, the Malaysian government assured everyone that the chemical poisoning tragedy is being treated with utmost urgency. 

Hanipa Maidin, De facto Deputy Law Minister, said that the federal government already handed out RM8 million for the immediate clean up of Sungai Kim Kim that was contaminated with toxic wastes. The NADMA said that as of Thursday, they have already removed around 2.4 tons of toxic chemical waste that were mixed with soil.  

The chemical poisoning began on March 7 and it is believed that a lorry came by in Johor's Pasir Gudang to dump the chemicals. The toxic wastes likely came from the industrial town nearby. The fumes spread to the community and in two schools, teachers and kindergarten kids suffered from shortness of breath, vomiting, and dizziness. 

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