Johor Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Dr Shahruddin Jamal has rubbished rumours that he would be giving up the MB post, allegedly because he had failed to tackle pollution issues affecting the port and industrial city of Pasir Gudang.
“Firstly it is rumours and secondly, who are behind it?” the Bukit Kepong assemblyman told the media.
Yesterday, a Facebook site calling itself Ops Johor had uploaded a posting titled ‘MB Johor akan lepaskan jawatan? (Johor MB Stepping Down?).
Meanwhile, former Johor mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he would welcome any investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and other authorities against him over the Pasir Gudang pollution issue.
He also pledged to cooperate fully with any investigation on the matter.
“Personally I also want to know which factories are responsible for the pollution in Pasir Gudang, who is the owner and who approved the factories’ opening and its operation,” said Khaled in a statement today.
His response came after he was blamed for approving factories in Pasir Gudang suspected in the recent pollution cases, during the Barisan Nasional administration when he was both Permas assemblyman and the MB.
Denying responsibility, he asserted that such permissions did not come under his purview as a state lawmaker then.
“The approval and operation of any factories are under the control and supervision of local authorities. In this case, it was the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council.
“Whereas matters pertaining to licences, monitoring and additional conditions are generally under the jurisdiction of the federal government and related agencies,” the Umno vice-president explained.
Khaled then urged the public and political parties to pressure the state government into reviewing the continued factory operations in the area and to close any that are involved in polluting Pasir Gudang.
He asserted that the review would also reveal who issued approvals to the factories.
“I fully agree that the authorities such as the MACC or any relevant agencies to initiate investigations as to fully probe who is involved and take action,” he said.
On Monday, Khaled lauded Shahruddin for making public apology over the pollution incidents in Pasir Gudang during a townhall session.
However, he said this did not remove the need to identify those responsible or explain what measures were being taken in response.
On July 14, over 100 victims lodged police reports urging the authorities to initiate a comprehensive probe into the two Pasir Gudang pollution “outbreaks” in March and June.