The first contractor hired to clean up chemical waste in Sungai Kim Kim had no expertise or experience in the matter. BERNAMA photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The first contractor hired to clean up chemical waste in Sungai Kim Kim had no expertise or experience in the matter.

Tebrau member of parliament Steven Choong Shiau Yoon told the Dewan Rakyat that the contractor, appointed by the district office, was found not to be experienced in dealing with chemical waste.

“After informing the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Ministry (of the problem), I was instructed to form a special committee with relevant government agencies to ensure a smooth cleaning process since March 7.

“A contractor was appointed at the time to start on the cleaning process, but the state Health Department informed me that the contractor had no experience in cleaning up such chemical waste. The contractor has ceased operations.

“On March 8, a special meeting was held and a decision was made to have a new contractor with a licence that had been approved by the Department of Environment (DoE). The state government will bear the cost of the appointment,” he said.

Choong said three more contractors had been appointed by the DoE to continue efforts in cleaning up the chemical waste.

He said a decision to declare a state of emergency was almost made on March 8, but the Fire and Rescue Department’s hazardous materials (Hazmat) team said the air readings in the area had returned to normal.

He said preparations had already been made to accommodate residents should a state of emergency be declared.

“We had identified places to place residents from the affected area, but as the menteri besar informed the media, no state of emergency was declared,” he said.

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