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Principals can close schools if haze worsens: Muhyiddin

PUTRAJAYA, March 4 (Bernama) -- Principals and headmasters can close schools under their jurisdiction if the air pollutant index (API) reading exceeds 200 during the current haze enveloping the Klang Valley, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, said the Education Ministry had activated the standing instruction for schools to take the appropriate action should the haze worsen.

The principals and headmasters had only to notify the district education officer of the closure of their schools, he told a news conference after chairing the 67th meeting of the National Council for Local Government, here.

"The principals and headmasters are empowered to make decisions in accordance with the guidelines," he said.

Also present at the news conference were Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and the deputy minister, Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique.

Muhyiddin said that should the API reading exceed 100, students at risk of suffering asthma attacks were discouraged from participating in outdoor activities.

If the API reading exceeded 150, all outdoor activities would have to be scrapped, he added.

Today, seven areas in the Klang Valley, including Banting, Kuala Selangor, Port Klang, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam in Selangor, recorded an unhealthy API as of 1 pm.

According to the Department of Environment (DoE) website, the API reading exceeded 100 for Banting (121), Kuala Selangor (102), Port Klang (117), Petaling Jaya (121) and Shah Alam (117). Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur recorded an API reading of 115 and Nilai in Negeri Sembilan, 110.

API readings of between 0 and 50 indicate that the air quality is good; 51 to 100, moderate; 101 to 200, unhealthy; 201 to 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, dangerous.

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