The situation in Pasir Gudang, Johor is getting worse.
On the night of March 13, Malaysian Education Minister Maszlee Malik announced that all schools in Pasir Gudang will be closed until further notice.
Maszlee said the decision was taken based on information garnered by the State Disaster Management Committee. According to state news agency Bernama, he said:
"Accordingly, all students, teachers and staff of the affected schools are not required to attend school until the situation is fully restored.
The Education Ministry has requested that all parties to take precautionary measures and adhere to the directives from the authorities, from time to time."
Over 500 people have sought medical treatment
Toxic fumes have been emanating from chemicals that have been illegally dumped into the Sungai Kim Kim river in Pasir Gudang.
Students from schools in the nearby Taman Pasir Putih area have sought medical attention for vomiting, nausea and shortness of breath, linked to the fumes.
506 people have sought treatment, with 166 hospitalised and nine sent to the Intensive Care Unit.
Malaysia's Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin visited the area on March 13 and said that prosecutors would charge a suspect for illegally dumping the waste in the river.
However on March 14, the Malay Mail reported that the proceedings would be delayed, as the state Deputy Public Prosecutors Office directed the Department of Environment for more details.
Sultan of Johor has pledged RM1 million in aid
Johor's royal family have also publicly spoken about the incident.
On March 14, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar shared in a Facebook post that he has pledged RM1 million (S$331,000) in aid to help the authorities purchase "whatever is necessary" to help the victims.
In an earlier post shared on March 12, the ruler of Johor urged the authorities to apprehend and punish those responsible for the environmental disaster.
Top image from Maszlee Malik's Twitter page and Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar's Facebook page.