PETALING JAYA - The country will see a brief respite from the present haze situation starting today.
This is a result of a change in wind pattern, brought about by the dissipation of Typhoon Kalmaegi over southern China.
"We will see the haze gradually disappearing as the wind pattern changes to bring in wind from the South China Sea instead (of Sumatra and Kalimantan)," said Malaysian Meteorological Department spokesman Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip.
He said winds from the South China Sea would bring in more moisture in the air, resulting in more rain over all parts of the country today.
Dr Hisham said Malaysians could expect a longer respite from the haze once the inter-monsoon season, expected to start by the end of next week, arrived.
The country has recently been hit with haze, as evidenced by the Department of Environment's Air Pollutant Index (API) readings which recorded "Moderate" at most areas in the country.
Sarawak was the most affected as two areas in the state recorded unhealthy API readings at 5pm yesterday.
The two areas were Samarahan and Kuching, which saw an API reading of 113 and 110 respectively.
An API reading of between 0 and 50 is considered good; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy; and 301 and above, hazardous.
In George Town, the air quality deteriorated with the API readings nearing the "unhealthy" level.
The readings recorded at the Prai station at 6am was 32, and 37 at 11am before shooting up to 73 at 2pm.
In Seberang Jaya 2 in Prai, it was 48 at 6am and 53 at 11am. The index then rose to 71 at 2pm.
In Kuching, the API was around 80 on Tuesday, but by yesterday noon, it was 119.
State authorities are blaming the smog on the 219 hotspots detected in southern Kalimantan.
However, there were also five hotspots detected within Sarawak yesterday.
Assistant Environment Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh said two hotspots were identified in Samarahan, two in Sarikei and one in Sri Aman.
"We have absolutely not issued any open burning permits. Our officers have been dispatched to carry out on-the-ground assessments at the hotspots," Talif said.
Sarawak has been experiencing lower rainfall this year, leading to dry taps in several villages about 100km from Kuching in July.