Cops say Pengerang family deaths due to depression, not RAPID By Mohd Farhan Darwis January 03, 2013 http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/...ng-family-deaths-due-to-depression-not-rapid/ KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 – Depression and not the pressures of losing their home to the RM60 billion Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project prompted the New Year suicides of a family of three in Pengerang, Johor, local police said today. The headline-grabbing New Year suicides of Pang Kim Yong, 63, Wong Ah Heng, 56, and their 21-year-old son Pang Kee How had caused a stir after several individuals suggested their deaths were due to pressure over the state oil company’s project to turn the Johor backwater into a mega petrochemical hub, Kota Tinggi district police chief, Supt Che Mahazan Che Aik told The Malaysian Insider that emotional stress in caring for an invalid wife and an adult child with Down’s Syndrome drove the father to kill himself and his family. “It is as said by his younger brother, he was stressed because his wife was sick... nothing to do with the RAPID project,” the policeman said when contacted, referring to Pang Mew Soon, the 54-year-old brother to the late Kim Yong. “It has been twisted by irresponsible media,” he added. The Kota Tinggi OCPD had in a statement issued earlier today refuted a local English-language newspaper’s report that the family were driven to death due to poverty, “The autopsy results found the causes of death to be ‘asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation’. “The suicide motive is due to ‘depression’ from the pressure of managing a frail wife and a child with ‘Down’s syndrome’,” Che Mahazan said in the statement. He urged the public not to manipulate the facts in the tragic incident. A Pengerang Umno division leader also told The Malaysian Insider that Mew Soon had filed a police complaint over news reports that claimed their deaths were caused by insufficient compensation over the RAPID project. “This incident had nothing to do with the land compensation for the RAPID project... the complainant was also dissatisfied with news reports that his brother died because of pressure over the land and was dissatisfied with the photographer that tookk pictures of the corpses of his brother, sister-in-law and nephew,” said the politician who asked not to be named. Gabungan NGO Pengerang (GNP), a grassroots group that has sprung up in Johor opposing the oil plant in their backyard, suggested that the death of the Pang family was due to overwhelming pressure over the project that would have resulted in them losing their homes without proper compensation. “GNP feels very sad over the tragedy in which a poor family was unable to take the pressure of life, as a result of the land acquisition by the developers, and finally was forced to commit suicide. “We also urge the government to care over what happened, if the relevant parties still insist on this development, it is believed will cause more tragedies in Pengarang [sic],” the group’s treasurer, Chua Peng Sin, said in a media statement today. He said he was told by residents that the family had received a notice informing them their home was being acquired for the RAPID project and they would receive only RM20,000 in compensation as the land on which their house was built was owned by another. The RAPID project is expected to turn Pengerang into a boom town for global petroleum investors, rivalling neighbouring Singapore as Asia’s most vibrant petrochemical hub, and creating over 40,000 job opportunities for locals from construction to downstream activities. But the government’s plans have still run afoul the local communities living in the many fishing villages girdling the southern shore of Pengerang, and green groups nationwide, who argue that the plant will cause large-scale environmental destruction and deprive the locals of their livelihood. The RAPID project is set to occupy over 2.43 hectacres of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex’s (PIPC) 22,500 acres, which is home to some 28,000 Pengerang parliamentary constituents in the southernmost tip of Johor. PIPC is a massive RM170 billion project that is expected to turn Malaysia into a mega petrochemical hub.