Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (left) and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian speak to reporters after visiting victims at Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) in Johor Baru. - NSTP/HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM

JOHOR BARU: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said those handling the incident involving the illegal chemical dumping in Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang gave done a good and effective job.

He said although this is the first time such incident had happened, the authorities, including the police, firemen and the medical personnel have handled it competently and effectively.

"The public assumed that this is a serious matter, but we also have to remember that the authorities have the capabilities to handle such matter," said Dr Mahathir.

He also reiterated that the situation is under control and that there is no need to declare a state of emergency in the affected areas.

"We also have no plans to evacuate the people in the area. What is important is for those in charge to be ready so if there is any recurrence of the incident, they would know how to handle it.

Cleaning works ongoing at the Sungai Kim Ki in Pasir Gudang. -NSTP/MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

"We should put our faith in the people handling the matter," said Dr Mahathir in a press conference after visiting the victims at the Sultan Ismail Hospital here.

Also present were his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian.

Earlier, both Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah attended a briefing on the incident at the district Disaster Management Committee operation room at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council headquarters.

Dr Mahathir said the government is taking note of the serious nature of the incident as it is the first time that it had happened.

Some of the victims receiving treatment at the Taman Pasir Putih community hall in Pasir Gudang. -NSTP/MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

"In previous cases, the chemicals involved are in solid or liquid form. This is the first time that we are dealing with toxic gas."

The prime minister also said that the government is willing to review related laws in order to prevent such incident from happening again.

When asked if the worst is over, Dr Mahathir said: "We can't say that the worst is over, but on the other hand, we will not say that the situation will get more serious.

“What is important is that we know how to handle the problem."

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