PM declares haze emergency in Muar and Ledang

KUALA LUMPUR (June 23, 2013): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today declared a state of emergency due to haze for the districts of Muar and Ledang in Johor until such a time it is withdrawn.

The declaration was made following the haze situation, particularly in the two districts, exceeding 500 on the Air Pollutants Index (API) which was an emergency level, he said in a statement.

"This haze emergency declaration does not involve imposition of a curfew and also there is no change in the method of administration either at the state or federal level for now," he said.

Based on the API, a reading of between 0-50 is categorised as good, 51 to 100 (moderate), 101-200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy), and 300 and above hazardous. The Department of Environment (DoE) reported that the API reading in Muar as at 7am today was at 746. However, at 11am, the API reading in Muar reduced to 690 but was still at the hazardous level.

Najib said all ministries and agencies involved in haze disaster management at the federal, state and district levels must plan and take the needed measures to ensure safety and public health is protected.

He said guidelines on the actions to take to manage a haze disaster were already in place and that all the relevant agencies must discharge their duties accordingly.

The statement also included the guidelines in facing a haze disaster which were issued by the National Security Council (NSC), Prime Minister's Department. –

GUIDELINES IN FACING A HAZE EMERGENCY

When a Haze Disaster Emergency is declared, the Federal, State and District Disaster Management Committees must take necessary action as follows:-

a) Advise the closure of offices of government or private sector premises and other places of employment including factories, plantations, construction sites, quarries, earthworks and earth moving work.

Work security and health measures must be taken at all times.

Closure advice is exempted for:

i) Water Supply Services;
ii)Electricity Supply Services;
iii) Public Health Services;
iv) Fire and Rescue Services; v) Prisons Services;
vi) Postal Services;
vii) Telephone and Telecommunication Services;
viii) Telegraph Services;
ix) Radio Communication Services, including broadcasting and television;
x) Port Services including Shipyard, dock and other related services;
xi) Land, Sea and Air Transport Services;
xii) Fuel Supply and Lubricating Oil Services;
xiii) Banking and Finance Services;
xiv) All services which are directly involved in the management of the haze disaster under the National Security Council's directive No. 20 and National Haze Action Plan.

b) The Malaysian Education Ministry, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and any related agencies to implement the closure of all schools, kindergartena and nurseries located in the Haze Emergency Disaster area;

c) The Communication and Multimedia Ministry and the Malaysian Health Ministry increase broadcasting of awareness information on haze continuously to guide the public.

d) Department of Environment, Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, Land Public Transport Commission, Road Transport Department, local authorities or any agencies related to boost enforcement against sources which could contribute towards worsening the quality of air.

e) The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department to escalate operations to put out peat soil fires and open burning with the cooperation of other agencies;

f) Malaysian Health Ministry to increase monitoring and treatment for health problems caused by haze in hospitals and health clinics.

g) Malaysian Meteorological Department and Royal Malaysian Air Force to implement cloud seeding activities in a climatic situation which would enable the success of the operation to reduce haze; and

h) All related ministries, department or agencies to postpone outside activities or leisure activities involving the public. – Bernama