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(File pix) Personnel involved in the cleaning up of Sungai Kim Kim collecting soil samples in Pasir Gudang recently. Pix by NSTP/Hairul Anuar Rahim

JOHOR BARU: “THERE are no chemiclas in court, so why are you wearing a mask? Remove it.”

This was the stinging rebuke delivered by judge Jailani Rahman to the director of a used tyre processing factory, who was wearing a disposable mask for his charge proceedings at the Sessions Court here yesterday.

The accused, Wang Jing Chao, 34, a Singaporean, was called out for the charge to be read.

Wang was the last of three people brought to court over charges of collusion and of disposing of a scheduled substance into Sungai Kim Kim.

Wang and Yap Yoke Liang, 36, who is also a director of the Pasir Gudang factory, as well as lorry driver N. Maridass, 35, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Yap and Wang were accused of colluding with Maridass to dispose of a scheduled substance in Sungai Kim Kim using a tanker trailer without the approval from the director of the Department of Environment between 12.01am and 1am on March 7.

Maridass is accused of disposing of the substance into Sungai Kim Kim.

They were charged under Section 34B(1)(a) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, which carries a maximum of five years’ jail and a fine of not more than RM500,000 upon conviction.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Asyraf Md Kamal did not offer bail, and submitted his objection to any bail application by the accused.

He said they were accused of committing serious actions that had led to severe environmental pollution, which affected the lives of thousands of people in Pasir Gudang, including schoolchildren.

“All the accused were arrested in different locations — Batu Gajah in Perak and Segamat and Yong Peng in Johor — which, we believe, was because they were trying to run and hide,” he said.

Jailani set bail for Yap at RM240,000 with one surety, while Marida ss’ bail was set at RM100,000 with one surety.

He ordered Yap to surrender his passport to the court.

The judge, however, denied bail for Wang.

Jailani set April 30 for mention of the case.

Yap and Wang were represented by counsel G. Subramanian Nair, while Maridass was represented by Rathakrishna.

The court postponed further charge proceedings against Wang and Yap, who were supposed to have been hit with another 15 charges each under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

The judge postponed the proceedings to today following time and technical constraints, given the large number of charges involved.

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