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Date: 21ST MARCH 2019 (THURSDAY)


Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) would like to remind that some of the reported chemicals such as benzene are carcinogenic and the impact from exposure to these chemicals is insidious. According to World Health Organisation, Benzene is carcinogenic to humans, and no safe level of exposure can be recommended for exposure through air. These chemicals are organic based and blend well in our body. Generally, impacts to health will be seen after few years. In addition to that, there was no official report or disclaimer that such chemicals were not released in this location prior to this incident.

These chemicals were inhaled by victims in Sg Kim Kim incident and gaseous form of pollution is high risk due to its ability to enter the human body directly via lungs. The second exposure is via skin. We also like to note that face mask used will only reduce the concentration of such gases entering our lungs and not 100% prevention.

Individually these chemicals are dangerous enough. Due to the decision made by the relevant government agencies which caused delay in clean up of the chemicals and reluctance to evacuate the people from the affected areas, these members of public of all age were basically “marinated slowly” with these cocktail of chemicals. Therefore, the actual seriousness of poisoning of these chemicals is unknown.

AWER would like to urge the Federal Government to form a Permanent Independent Committee on Sg Kim Kim Incident with immediate effect. The following suggestions must be carried out transparently as part of protection and long term monitoring for all affected victims and their families.
(i)    The chairperson of the committee must not be a cabinet member or Member of Parliament or state assemblymen. Please select an independent expert to chair the committee to ensure the committee is run transparently. The committee membership should not exceed 6 government agency representatives, 2 representatives for the affected residents and another 3 independent members whom are the field expert.
(ii)    This committee must publish the full details of event from first day the incident took place on a dedicated website. All chemicals that were recorded with their respective testing result must also be published. Currently, the rakyat only receive qualitative information and not quantitative information. For example, the relevant government agencies announced that the air quality at Pasir Gudang is safe (which is qualitative information) but didn’t announce the detailed data of the air quality (which is quantitative information).
(iii)    Air quality and dispersion modeling since day 1 of the incident must also be published if it was done to examine the movement of pollutant plumes. This will assist to establish actual affected areas.
(iv)    All meeting minutes related to the incident must also be published.
(v)    Cost incurred by all government agencies must be recorded in details.
(vi)    Medical examination report summary must be included in its report from the first day of the incident. The cohort study by Ministry of Health must also be presented to this committee.
(vii)    The technical committee formed by the government must produce transparent report to this committee of air quality monitoring, water quality monitoring, groundwater sampling, aquatic animal and plants sampling from upstream of Sg Kim Kim, 10 metres from the polluted zone, every 100 metres in polluted zone and suitable sample spacing towards downstream.
(viii)    This committee must also study the possibility of forming a fund for the victims to facilitate periodic medical examinations at different frequency for different age group and those with preexisting health condition.
(ix)    All current victims and potentially identified victims in near future (as some may not show symptoms immediately) must have a medical alert with them or in their health record to prevent their possible chemical poisoning symptoms are wrongly diagnosed as other medical problems. This is to prevent wrong diagnosis and medicine usage.
(x)    Database of victims and possible victims of age 12 and below as well as pregnant mothers must be prepared immediately and their health monitoring needs to be done with higher frequency. This database can be created easily by retrieving victims’ medical history from existing database & expand to possible victims that maybe identified in future. This will assist Ministry of Health in developing a more comprehensive cohort study.
(xi)    The committee must also recognise potential risk to the first responders who may not be aware of the seriousness of the pollution and may have been exposed as well. We also noticed there were a number of media personnel were affected while carrying out their duty to bring truth to all of us. The committee must also include them as victims.
(xii)    The committee will also have to establish a mechanism to assist in future medical cost for the victims and compensation for loss of income when victims become incapable of working.
(xiii)    The government must also facilitate the work of the committee and seek compensation from the wrong doers and potential companies that may be linked in using the wrong doers to dispose the toxic chemicals. This is to cover the cleanup cost as well as future medical related cost to the victims.

AWER hopes the government will consider our suggestions to ensure the well being of the victims are fully taken care when the actual insidious impacts emerge. We welcome all parties to contribute your ideas and support to make this committee a reality. This is not a “fault finding” committee. We want justice for victims and be better prepared to manage such incidents if it may reoccur in any other location in our territory or beyond.

Piarapakaran S.
Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER)














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