Schools in several areas ordered to close

File Photo: Students wearing masks against the haze at a school in Batu Pahat on 21 June 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR - Schools in the Manjung, Perak, and two areas in Selangor will be closed today due to the worsening haze situation.

The areas in Selangor are Klang and Petaling Perdana, said Education director-general Tan Sri Abd Ghafar Mahmud.

The air pollutant index (API) at these places exceeded 250 at 5pm yesterday.

Abd Ghafar said the respective state education directors had been instructed to inform the schools about the closure.

"They should also inform the Education Ministry on the number of schools and students affected by the closure," he said.

Abd Ghafar said schools were allowed to close if the API exceeded 250 and that they should notify the Education Ministry.

If the API exceeds 300, the schools can close without the ministry's approval. Yesterday, API levels were 322 in Manjung and 484 in Port Klang.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim suggested that the API cut-off point for the closure of schools be 100 (unhealthy level) instead of 300 (hazardous level).

Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin wants the ministry to issue a "clear directive" on whether pupils and students should go to school under the current circumstances.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng agreed on the need for such a directive.

"In areas where the air quality is bad, some schools are closed while others remain open.

"This should not be the case when the haze situation is getting worse," she said.

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