Malaysia: ‘Emergency’ plan has docs hot and bothered

The Star 19 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: The Government’s decision to declare a “heatwave emergency” only when temperatures hit 40°C for seven consecutive days has medical practitioners hot under the collar.

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) vice-president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said he was puzzled.

“Our country’s average temperature is 31°C to 33°C. When there is a 5°C increase, the Government should already be declaring a heatwave emergency. They don’t need to wait till it hits 40°C,” he said.

Dr Raj believes schools should be closed if the temperature remains at the current temperatures of 37°C-38°C.

“It is better to close schools because most Malaysian schools are not air-conditioned,” he said, adding that students might suffer from heat exhaustion and cramps.

However, he was pleased that the Cabinet had approved a plan to set up a special committee to monitor this phenomenon.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Zachariah Phi­lip was unsure of the move.

“The Government should provide specific measures on what they will do instead of just declaring such a statement,” he said.

However, he did not see a need for schools to be closed because of the heatwave.

Dr Ashok advises Malaysians to stay indoors, drink enough water, wear protective clothing and use sunblock.

It may get too hot for school
The Star 19 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Schools in the country will be closed if the temperature in their area hits 37°C for more than 72 hours and a heatwave emergency declared if any area sees tempe­ratures at 40°C for seven days or more.

With temperatures expected to hit its peak tomorrow, Natural Resources and Environment Minis­ter Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said a first warning would be issued if temperatures reach or exceed 37°C for 72 hours.

“When the first warning is issued, we will order the postponement of outdoor activities at schools, such as extra-curricular activities, cross-country events or camping.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports will order outdoor sports activities and athletics training sessions to be postponed, held indoors or held at night.

“If it stays at above 37°C for more than 72 hours, a second warning will be issued.

“Schools in these areas will be ordered closed,” he said.

These are among the measures in a new heatwave “action plan” that was approved by the Cabinet yesterday.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of a special committee on the heatwave, which he will chair.

“The committee will be tasked with monitoring the heatwave situa­tion and with executing the action plan.

“The National Disaster Manage­ment Agency (Nadma) will convene a special meeting to discuss an emergency response plan.

“If temperatures go beyond 40°C for seven days or more, then Nadma will declare a ‘heatwave emergency’ and will announce the emergency measures to be taken,” Dr Wan Junaidi told a press conference here yesterday.

The committee, he added, comprised Nadma, the Meteorological Department, the Department of Environment, the National Security Council, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry, among others.

In 1998, the district of Chuping in Perlis recorded the highest reading in Malaysia’s history at 40.1°C.

The same district recorded a reading of 39°C on Monday and yesterday.

Heat wave: Edu Ministry denies issuing statement for schools to be closed in 6 states
FAZLEENA AZIZ New Straits Times 19 Mar 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry refuted claims that schools in Johor, Malacca, Selangor, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu will remain closed until March 22 due to heat wave.

Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said via his Facebook that the announcement made viral over social media was untrue.

“We did not issue any statement that schools will remain closed after the March school holiday period,” he said.

Mahdzir also attached a screen grab of the viral statement.

In the viral statement, parents were advised not to bring their children out from 12pm to 3pm as a result of the sun situated in line with the equator.

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