Malaysia: Johor schools to remain closed tomorrow

NELSON BENJAMIN The Star 29 Sep 15;

State Entrepreneur Development, Cooperative, Education and Information committee chairman Md Jais Sarday said he was concerned about the well-being and health of students especially with the haze situation.

"This will involve some 618,362 primary and secondary school students," Jais told on Tuesday.

The Education Ministry made the decision as Air Pollutant Index (API) readings as at 4pm Tuesday, showed no significant change from Monday.

However, the Ministry ordered all schools that were closed in Malacca Monday to reopen on Tuesday due to improved haze conditions in the state.

Jais added that all kindergartens and institution of higher learning should also follow suit and remain closed.

He added that there would be an announcement on Wednesday if the schools would reopen or stay closed on Thursday.

Students having respiratory problems should get a report from the clinic or hospital if they are unfit to attend school due to the present haze situation.

Jais, when contacted, said medical reports would be required for students who did not attend school for long periods due to respiratory illness.

Asked if so far there were any such cases, Jais said that so far there were non but the state education department was monitoring the situation.

According to the Environment Department's Air Pollutant Index (API), Larkin Lama in Johor showed an "Unhealthy" reading of 126 as at 5pm Tuesday.

Clear weather expected in next few days but smog will return this weekend

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will enjoy a short reprieve from the haze in the next few days, but it is set to make a return over the weekend.

According to Meteorological Dep­artment spokesman Dr Hisham Mohd Anip, the phasing out of Typhoon Dujuan in Taiwan yesterday would see winds being pulled from clearer parts of Indonesia.

The winds over Sarawak had already shifted yesterday evening but for penisular Malaysia, the wind will start shifting today.

“Also, more rain is expected in the next two or three days, which will cause haze levels to gradually decline,” said Hisham.

However, another low-pressure area is slowly building up in the northern part of the South China Sea close to the west of the Philippines.

“This means that on Saturday or Sunday, the winds will shift again, bringing back the air from the dense haze areas in Indonesia to Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Hisham said this condition would last until the end of next week as the low-pressure area enhances into a tropical cyclone.

He added that the severity of the haze would be hard to predict as there had been interference in their satellite readings of hotspots in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

The constant change of winds, he said, was most likely due to the El Nino effect, which is reported to be the strongest in over half a century.

“Usually we only experience thick haze for about two or three weeks, but this year it has persisted longer than usual,” Hisham added.

As of 5pm yesterday, 10 areas recorded unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings. The areas were Kota Tinggi (111), Larkin Lama (126), Muar (113), Pasir Gudang (121) in Johor, Bandaraya Malacca (118), Bukit Rambai (118) in Malacca, Port Dickson (101) in Negri Sembilan, Balok Baru (126), Indera Mahkota (114) in Pahang and Kemaman (108) in Terengganu.

At the Kuala Lumpur Inter­national Airport, as at 5.30m, all flights have gone on as scheduled except for one AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Pekanbaru, which was delayed because visibility was below the minimum level due to the haze.

According to Malindo Air chief executive officer Chandran Rama Murthy, Subang Airport also enjoyed a day of smooth flights except for those flying to Kerteh airport, which was closed down due to the haze.

As for Firefly, only one flight was affected by the closing down of Kerteh airport, said its chief executive officer Ignatius Ong.

“We arranged for a bus to transport the passengers from Kerteh to Kuantan airport before flying them to Subang,” he said.