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Dozens of Johor students hit by nausea, breathing difficulties hours after schools reopen

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PASIR GUDANG: Dozens of students at several schools in Pasir Gudang, Johor, experienced breathing difficulties and nausea hours after 111 primary and secondary schools reopened yesterday, after being closed last week due to an air pollution incident.

However, the state's Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said classes would continue, as air quality readings were normal.


"We will move students whose classrooms are at higher floors to a lower level, as most students who experienced symptoms today are from the third and fourth floors," he said.

He said agencies such as the Pasir Gudang Emergency Mutual Aid and Department of Environment would continue to monitor the air.

"About 30 were sent to the Pasir Gudang and Masai health clinics," he said at SK Kopok, one of the affected schools.

A total of 475 educational institutions in Pasir Gudang were closed for three days last week due to air pollution.

More than 100 students from over 30 schools have been affected by the incident, which started on June 20.

The cause of the air pollution and the students' symptoms is still unknown.

Last week, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said three types of flammable and toxic gases had been detected.

These gases were methyl mercaptan, acrylonitrile and acrolein.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has described the incident as "unfortunate", saying it should not have happened, especially coming hard on the heels of the dumping of toxic waste into the nearby Sungai Kim Kim three months ago.

In March, schools were ordered to close because of toxic fumes from Sungai Kim Kim.

The incident, which resulted in methane gas spreading through the air, had forced almost 4,000 people to seek treatment at hospitals. - THE STAR