HAZE UPDATE: Schools in Malacca, Pahang to be closed tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR - The authorities today announced the closure of all schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malacca and Kuantan in Pahang tomorrow.

However, schools in Pontian, Pasir Gudang, and Kota Tinggi in Johor, would resume its operations as usual on Monday.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the closure for KL and Selangor was as advised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said he would ask Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh to take the necessary action.

"The haze situation was worsening as of 5pm and the schools are ordered to be closed as a precautionary measure since the bad air quality will affect the health of students," he said in a statement here today.

Palanivel also advised parents to keep their children indoors and use face masks if they needed to go out.

The Malacca state government earlier instructed all 313 primary and secondary schools plus all pre-schools, including Tadika Perpaduan, Kemas, to be closed starting tomorrow due to the haze.

Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron said the Air Pollutant Index (API) in Malacca town had reached the hazardous level of 397 while Bukit Rambai recorded 456 as of 2pm, today.

"We were directed by the Education Ministry to close all schools and remain closed until further notice and I hope our children will not be allowed to leave the house as it may be detrimental to their health," he said after officiating the Urban Transformation Centre's (UTC) first anniversary here today.

He added that government agencies and departments were reminded to be cautious and to always use face masks.

Idris added that 25,000 face masks were distributed through the Malacca Education Department after receiving the consignment.

In KUANTAN, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob ordered schools in the district and areas badly affected by the haze to close starting tomorrow.

"Looking at the situation (haze) today, it's bad...visibility is low and it's hard to breathe.

"It's dangerous for our children to go to school tomorrow," he said after the launch of the Sultan Ahmad Shah International Convention Centre, Zenith Hotel and Menara Zenith Putra Square, here, today.

Meanwhile, Johor education director Mohd Nor A Ghani, said, schools in Pontian, Pasir Gudang, and Kota Tinggi in Johor, would resume its operations as usual on Monday,

Mohd Nor said the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading was below 150, in this three districts thus the students could resume lessons at their respective schools.

"There are 98 schools in Pontian, 105 schools in Pasir Gudang and 97 schools in Kota Tinggi," he said.

The Department of Environment (DoE) reported that the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading in Muar, which has been declared an emergency area, recorded a slight drop with a reading of 690 at 11am today, from 746 four hours earlier.

The API readings for Melaka City and Bukit Rambai in Melaka, which earlier recorded hazardous levels of 357 and 334 respectively, soared to 415 and 428.

States which have registered unhealthy API readings include the federal capital, Putrajaya, Selangor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Johor. The two areas categorised as having good air quality are Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah.

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