Press Statement by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 25 June 2013.
The Penang state government urges the Education Ministry not to risk our children’s health but to automatically close down all schools when the API exceeds 150. The current guidelines of automatic closure of schools where the API is more than 300 and that schools must remain open if the API is below 250, is not practical and just too low.
If even adults feel like falling sick with sore eyes and throats from prolonged exposure when the API exceeds 150, what more young children? The Penang state government feels that public health and safety cannot be compromised and to wait until the API exceeds more than 300 before there is school closure, is just irresponsible.
The Education Ministry must realise that there is every likelihood that when the API exceeds 150 or 300, it can go even higher just like in Muar which hit a high of 746. Further whilst the API readings are now updated hourly not all areas in Malaysia have API readings such as Balik Pulau, Jawi, Bukit Mertajam, Kepala Batas or George Town, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi Why risk our children’s health?
Further, the Department of Environment must also explain the disconnect between API readings and visual visibility. Many question the low API readings when there is such low visibility. In the meantime, Penangites can only hope that the wind conditions will spare Penang from the worsening haze.
There must be proper guidance and guidelines with a system that promotes clarity and certainty both for parents and teachers. As the haze is a recurring affair, an announcement of ‘until further notice’ is no longer acceptable when it affects our children’s education.
This morning Penang State Secretary Dato Farizan Bin Darus chaired a full haze preparatory meeting and outlined a series of measures to be implemented in the event there is a similar emergency situation. Dato Farizan remains hopeful that the wind direction will save Penang from a more severe haze situation which is slightly unhealthy at below 130.
—-Mandarin Version —-