Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has cancelled two events lined up for his birthday celebration this weekend, out of respect for victims of the Pasir Gudang chemical pollution tragedy.
"Many are affected by the incident caused by irresponsible parties, and some are still in the Intensive Care Unit, and schools are still closed.
"I'm cancelling the two events because I don't want to hold merry events when my people are still suffering," the ruler said in a statement issued by the Royal Press Office today.
The two events are a tea party scheduled to be held on March 24, and a state reception lined up for March 25.
With the cancellation of the two events, manpower from various government agencies and departments, including security forces, can be deployed for clean-up at Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, the ruler said.
"As we know, many personnel are involved in the clean-up operations and I really appreciate their commitment and dedication.
"Thus, I think it is only fair to cancel these events for the sake of the rakyat, and those who are on duty round the clock," Sultan Ibrahim decreed.
The dumping of chemical wastes in Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang was realised on March 7 when many students, teachers and staff of schools near the river suffered breathing difficulty, vomiting, nausea and sore throat after inhaling toxic fumes emanating from the effluents.
On March 13, the Education Ministry ordered all the 111 schools in Pasir Gudang to close after many more people suffered from what has come to be called the "Kim Kim Symptoms".