Malaysia: The heat will go on for another three months, says dept

loshana k shagar The Star 1 Jul 14;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians must brace themselves for hot and dry weather for the next three more months at the least. This is because effects of the southwest monsoon is on course to be boosted by the El Nino phenomenon.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said though there would be a respite this week with isolated rains in several areas in the country, the dry weather would continue until September, at the least.

“Isolated rains are forecast due to the weakening in wind speed and availability of moisture,” MetMalaysia said in a statement yesterday.

“El Nino has not been established yet, but the majority of climate prediction centres worldwide expect it to develop in the next few months,” it said.

MetMalaysia noted that rain over the past weekend reduced the impact of the hot weather, which hit a maximum 33.6°C in the peninsula and 32.8°C in Sabah and Sarawak.

However, it warned that temperatures could spike to 36°C when the El Nino phenomenon emerged.

The department did not comment on whether the unfavourable weather conditions would have an impact on water supply.

On the haze situation, the Department of Environment said 40 areas recorded good air quality readings yesterday, while 10 areas, mostly in Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Terengganu, Muar, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, recorded moderate readings.

This was a marked improvement from Sunday, which showed 24 areas with moderate air quality levels and 26 others with good air quality.

Milder El Nino but Govt leaving nothing to chance
The Star 1 Jul 14;

PUTRAJAYA: Although the intensity of this year’s El Nino is expected to be mild or moderate, the Government is leaving nothing to chance.

The special cabinet committee set up to brace for weather phenomenon held its first meeting yesterday and was informed by the Malaysian Meteorological Department that, unlike the extreme El Nino of 1997 and 1998, the effects this time may not be as drastic.

The committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin discussed measures to ensure adequate food and water supply, besides contingencies to handle open burning.

“Steps to ensure food security including agriculture, livestock and fish supplies were discussed,” the committee said in a press statement.

The Government was also prepared to increase food imports, if there were serious shortages.

The National Security Council will also be coordinating efforts by various ministries and agencies to tackle the effects of the El Nino on the environment and public health.

Teams will be deployed to tackle open burning and peat fires. Cloud seeding will also be conducted to increase raw water in dams and to reduce haze if necessary.

The National Water Services Commission (Span) will also work with state governments to monitor raw water reserves.

“Contingency plans will be activated if water levels in rivers and dams fall to critical levels.”

The committee said water rationing would only be implemented as a last resort.

‘Govt geared for El Nino’
ADIB POVERA New Straits Times 1 Jul 14;

PUTRAJAYA: THE government has made preparations to cushion the aftermath of the El Nino phenomenon, which started with a prolonged dry spell last month.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in a statement, said the government would ensure there was an adequate stockpile of food for the people from the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors.

Muhyiddin, who also heads a national committee in the wake of El Nino, said the government would implement short-, medium-and long-term initiatives in view of the phenomenon.

Among the efforts are the efficient management of irrigation for agricultural and farming activities.

“Other steps include cultivating drought-resistant and precocious plants, developing a local crops module, diversifying sources of income for farmers, embarking on an awareness campaign and establishing an El Nino forecasting simulation module.

“As an alternative measure, the government will increase the import of food items should the country’s food production plunge drastically,” said Muhyiddin.

He had earlier chaired a meeting of the committee. Present were Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

To lessen the burden of farmers and breeders who had suffered losses because of the dry weather, Muhyiddin said the government would provide financial aid.

“If the nation’s food production continues to drop after all measures have been exhausted, the government will provide assistance through the Agrofood Disaster Assistance Fund to affected farmers, breeders and agro-based entrepreneurs.”

Federal agencies will work with the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and National Water Services Industry to monitor the water levels in rivers, dams and treatment plants.

Muhyiddin said a contingency plan would be activated if the water levels in all main rivers and dams dropped to critical levels.

“The contingency plan comprises actions to redistribute water from supply systems in areas with sufficient levels to affected areas.

“The government will deploy tankers and station static water tanks in areas experiencing water cuts,” he said, adding that water rationing would be enforced if the need arose.

To minimise the impact on the environment, the government, via the National Security Council, will mobilise its task force, comprising representatives from the Health Ministry, Education Ministry, Meteorological Department, Environmental Department, Fire and Rescue Department, DID, Information Department and Radio Televisyen Malaysia.

Muhyiddin said the task force would monitor and conduct actions to control open burning and peat fires.

“The task force will be involved in cloud-seeding operations to increase the raw water levels in rivers and dams, and reduce haze.”

He said indicators had shown that the El Nino phenomenon in the country was at a weak or moderate level.

Five areas record moderate API at noon
The Star 30 Jun 14;

KUALA LUMPUR: Only Kuala Terengganu, Malacca City, Port Dickson, Nilai and Muar recorded moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings as at noon Monday.

According to the Department of Environment (DOE) portal, Kuala Terengganu and Malacca City recorded an API reading of 59, Port Dickson (55), Nilai (54) and Muar (51).

An API reading of between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; between 51 and 100, moderate; between 101 and 200, unhealthy; between 201 and 300, very unhealthy and over 301, hazardous.

Members of the public can refer to the DOE portal at to find out the current API reading for their areas. - Bernama

Moderate API in 41 areas

KUALA LUMPUR: Nine areas in the Peninsula recorded moderate air quality level in the Air Pollutant Index (API) as of 5pm.

Department of Environment (DOE) director-general Datuk Halimah Hassan said the API readings showed 41 other areas have good air quality.

“The nine areas are Kuala Terengganu (68), Seremban (60), Malacca (58), Indera Mahkota, Kuantan (55), Kemaman (53), Batu Muda, Kuala Lumpur (52), Nilai (52), Muar (52) and Pasir Gudang (51).

“Two hotspots have been detected in Sumatera, Indonesia via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite,” she said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Meteorological Department officer Ambun Dindang expected continuous rain beginning next month.

However, as at 8am today, there are 62 open burnings, peat fires, forest fires and bush fires reported in the country.

Fire and Rescue Department enforcement officer Ahmad Faizol Che Mud @ Hashim said Perak recorded the most number of open burnings with 21 affected areas followed by Selangor with 17 areas and few other states such as Sarawak (6) and Johor (4).

16 haze hotspots found
New Straits Times 30 Jun 14;

KUALA LUMPUR: All haze-causing hotspots detected in the country shall be properly investigated and acted upon, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G.Palanivel.

He said 16 hotspots have been detected through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite images; one in Selangor and Johor, two in Pahang, four in Sarawak and 8 in Sabah.

“However, the satellite was not able to show the actual number of hotspots as its observation was not comprehensive and because of thick cloud cover,” he said yesterday.

The minister said the Department of Environment had also detected 3,973 cases of open burnings, namely on agricultural land (1,271 cases), shrubs (921 cases), jungle land (840 cases), other small areas with open burning (724 cases), construction areas (117 cases), waste disposal sites (69 cases) and industrial areas (31 cases) as of yesterday.

Palanivel said one hotspot was also detected in Sumatera, Indonesia yesterday.

Air Pollutant Index (API) readings as at 1pm yesterday showed that the air quality in 30 areas was good, while residents in 20 other areas enjoyed moderate air quality.

According to the DOE website, the areas with good API readings included Kota Tinggi (30), Alor Setar (42), Tanah Merah (30), Jerantut (45) and Ipoh (47), while among those with moderate air quality were Muar (53), Sungai Petani (54), Melaka (68), Port Dickson (71) and Bintulu (52).

API readings are categorised as good (0 to 50), moderate (51 to 100), unhealthy (101 to 200) very unhealthy (201 to 300) and very dangerous (300 and above).

The public can refer to the DOE’s website at to find out the API readings in their respective areas. Bernama

Huge spike in dengue cases and deaths
The Star 1 Jul 14;

PETALING JAYA: For those who thought that the rise in the number of dengue cases was bad, here’s the real bad news – there has been a 248% spike in the number of cases this year, and a 228% increase in the number of deaths.

The total number of reported dengue cases throughout the country this year rose to 42,229 cases compared to 12,143 for the same period last year,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam.

As at June 21, 82 people have died of dengue nationwide – a 228% increase compared to the 25 recorded over the same period last year.

On a weekly basis, Dr Subraman­iam said 2,021 cases were recorded from June 15 to June 21, a 12.5% increase compared to the 1,797 cases reported the previous week.

Four deaths were reported for the week beginning June 15, including that of a five-year-old boy in Selangor.

“All cases were given treatment before they died due to dengue-related complications,” he added.

Dr Subramaniam had previously said the number of cases were higher this year due to the shift in the dominant dengue virus serotype that is circulating here.

Four serotypes are always in circulation (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4), but the dominant serotype can change from time to time. DEN-2 has been found to be the prevalent serotype here since the middle of last year.

With the current fasting month under way, Dr Subramaniam said Ramadan bazaar areas should be kept clean to prevent them from turning into mosquito breeding grounds.

“Bazaar operators and visitors should ensure that cleanliness is maintained and rubbish is not thrown everywhere.

“That could lead to the water stagnating and forming breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.

“Mosque and surau areas should also be free of mosquitoes,” he said, urging all parties to do their part to prevent dengue.

He encouraged the public to use repellents or to cover up to minimise chances of being bitten by the Aedes, which typically feeds in the mornings or dusk.