Malaysia shuts schools after hundreds affected by chemical dump

It is believed that a lorry dumped toxic waste in southern Johor state last week,sending fumes across a wide area and causing those affected to display symptoms of poisoning.

Published: 13th March 2019 05:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2019 05:54 PM   |  A+A-


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has closed 34 schools after hundreds of people fell ill when toxic waste was dumped into a river, the education minister said on Wednesday, warning the situation was getting worse. A lorry is believed to have dumped the waste in southern Johor state last week, sending toxic fumes across a wide area and causing those affected to display symptoms of poisoning such as nausea and vomiting.

About 300 people, many of them children, received medical treatment after inhaling the fumes and scores have been admitted to the hospital, according to official news agency Bernama. Reports said it was unclear what type of poisonous gas had been emitted near the industrial town of Pasir Gudang.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik said he visited the area and saw scores of students being brought by ambulance to a makeshift emergency centre. He then decided to order the immediate closure of 34 schools. "Unfortunately, the situation has become more critical," he said in a statement. "The education ministry views this seriously as it involves the lives of students and teachers and school workers."

A man suspected to have been involved in dumping the waste will be charged in court as soon as Thursday, the environment minister said. He faces up to five years in jail if found guilty of breaking environmental protection laws.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp