Malaysia and S'pore hold safety drill on second link highway

GELANG PATAH, Malaysia - The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department was the first to arrive the scene - where a truck and lorry transporting chemical liquid collided on the second link highway causing a spill between the Malaysian and Singaporean border.

The Malaysian firemen inspected the scene to ensure safety before rushing to the aid of victims in the accident while Singapore's Civil Defence Force who was just seconds behind joined in.

Together with the Singaporean aut­horities, the scene was cleared and deemed safe within an hour and a half.

The incident, however, was only a safety drill to evaluate the effectiveness of the two countries emergency response plan in dealing with chemical spills on the second link highway.

Malaysia's Department of Environ­ment director-general Datuk Hali­mah Hassan said the drill was an imperative safety measure as large volumes of chemicals were transported daily.

"Since January 2012, more than 195,000 metric tonnes of chemicals have been transported into the country from Singapore and 170,000 metric tonnes have been transported out of the country via the second link highway," she said during the ninth Malaysia-Singapore Joint Com­mittee on the Environment joint exercise yesterday.

Halimah said a total of 22 agencies from Malaysia and seven agencies from Singapore were involved in the drill, which is conducted once in two years.

"Although authorities have not recor­ded any chemical-spill incidents since the highway was opened, safety drills have been conducted to prepare for the worst-case scenario," she said.

She also said good communication between the two countries was important as the safety of the countries could be in jeopardy if such a situation occurred.