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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2, 2015:

Winds are expected to blow more haze from fires in Indonesia to Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak over the next 24 to 48 hours, worsening conditions.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said 380 hot spots were discovered in Sumatra and nine in Kalimantan.

He said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 18 satellite could not accurately detect the number of hot spots in Kalimantan due to heavy cloud coverage.

As such, Wan Junaidi said he had written to his Indonesian counterpart to express his worry about the growing number of hot spots.

He said he would also be visiting Indonesia to discuss the current haze situation.

“The Department of Environment is keeping a close eye on the haze condition in the country due to the increasing number of hot spots in Indonesia,” he said in a statement today.

Wan Junaidi said seven hot spots had been identified inside the country, one in Sabah and six in Pahang.

He added that investigations were being carried out and appropriate action would be taken against those responsible.

“All government agencies are working together to prevent open burning during this hot and dry weather.”

The minister said as of Aug 31, the DOE had discovered 3,159 open burning cases nationwide.

He said from that ,17 cases were being taken to court, 211 offenders had their cases compounded, 15 were given warning notices and 41 issued warning letters.

He warned the public not to get involved in open burning as they could face action under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

He pointed out that under Section 29 (A), a member of the public could fined RM500,000 or jailed five years, or both. Offenders also face a compound fine of RM2,000.

Meanwhile, the air quality across Malaysia remains at “moderate” while one area was considered “unhealthy” under the Air Pollutant Index (API) as of 5pm today.

The API for Bakar Arang, Sungai Petani, Kedah, recorded an unhealthy level of 103.

Most of areas in Peninsular Malaysia recorded moderate API levels of 51-100.

Langkawi, Tanah Merah, Tanjung Malim and Sabah, Sarawak as well as Labuan recorded good API scores of 21-50.

An API reading of 0 to 50 is deemed good; 51 to 100, moderate; 100-200, unhealthy; 200-300, very unhealthy; and more than 300 as hazardous.

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