Johor's Sungai Kim Kim victims file S$10m suit against federal, state governments and others

Officials taking samples of land to check air, water and soil levels at Sungai Kim Kim river, on March 19, 2019.
Officials taking samples of land to check air, water and soil levels at Sungai Kim Kim river, on March 19, 2019.PHOTO: DPA

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NETWORK) - Victims of the Sungai Kim Kim toxic pollution, which include fishermen and Pasir Gudang residents, have filed civil suits to seek compensation amounting to RM30 million (S$10 million) against 12 parties.

Lawyer Kamaruddin Ahmad said that the two civil suits were filed at the Johor Baru High Court on Tuesday (July 16) by the 171 victims against 12 defendants over their negligence in dealing with the Sungai Kim Kim pollution incident in March.

"The first suit named 42 Pasir Gudang residents, including schoolchildren affected by the pollution, as plaintiffs."

"The second suit named 129 fishermen from seven villages along Sungai Kim Kim, whose income were badly affected due to the pollution, as plaintiffs," he told reporters outside the High Court here on Wednesday.

Both suits named 12 defendants including the Federal Government, Johor state government, former mentri besar Osman Sapian, former health, environment and agriculture committee chairman Sahruddin Jamal (now Johor Mentri Besar), the Department of Enviroment (DOE) and its former director Ezzani Mat Salleh, and Pasir Gudang Municipil Council president Zainor Adani.

Also named as defendants were the company accused of causing the pollution and two of its directors, Yap Yoke Liang and Singaporean Wang Jing Choa, as well as a lorry driver of the company, N. Maridass, who was charged with illegally disposing of scheduled waste into Sungai Kim Kim.

In March, toxic pollution in Sungai Kim Kim resulted in over 4,000 people falling ill, which also saw the temporary closure of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang district.