Angry dad rebukes Malaysian officials dealing with Pasir Gudang pollution incidents

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An angry father delivered a rebuke to Malaysian officials reportedly arguing over who should pay for safety measures after the recent chemical pollution incidents at Pasir Gudang.

Mr Idham Wazir A Wahab, a father of five, on Monday sneaked into a closed-door townhall session between Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin and industry players in Pasir Gudang at Menara Aqabah.

The 49-year-old former engineer said he became infuriated after the stakeholders attending the townhall debated over who should spend money to ensure the safety of the people in Pasir Gudang. His outburst at the townhall was recorded and went viral on social media.

The 1min 28sec video showed him shouting at the participants of the townhall.

"I was really angry because I have spent thousands for my child's medical treatment and yet they (government and industries) still have the time to argue," he said.

Mr Idham Wazir is the father to Irfan Wafiy Idham Wazir, 12, one of the victims of the first chemical pollution incident in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang.

The father claimed Irfan Wafiy could not walk or stand properly following the pollution.

"No other family or kids should go through what I have gone through with my son. Now I have to go back and forth to Kuala Lumpur because there is no specialist in Johor Baru that can attend to his condition," he added.

He said he quit his engineering job to take care of his son after he was admitted for 10 days at Hospital Sultan Ismail due to the chemical fumes from Sungai Kim Kim.

Mr Idham Wazir said it would not hurt the industry to be shut down for one month while proper investigations are conducted.

Nearly 475 educational institutions in Pasir Gudang were closed for three days last week after more than 100 students from over 30 schools experienced symptoms like nausea and dizziness. These were attributed to "toxic fumes", the cause for which has not been pinpointed. When the schools reopened on Sunday, many students and teachers experienced similar symptoms and were rushed to clinics. However, pollution detectors showing no toxic chemicals in the air.

In March, 111 primary and secondary schools in Pasir Gudang were shut for two weeks following the illegal dumping of chemicals into Sungai Kim Kim, which flows into the Strait of Johor just north of Singapore's Pulau Ubin.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.