PUTRAJAYA: The current monsoon transition phase is expected to continue until middle of May, and will bring along thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds, especially in the afternoon and early evening, said Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
He said the matter was relayed to him by the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) at the national haze and dry weather committee meeting which he chaired at the Department of Environment (DOE) headquarters here.
“Hot and dry weather can still occur and will only completely ease by April. This phenomenon is normal and occurs around February to April each year and no extreme hot weather is forecast this year,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said the lowest monthly rainfall at 0.0mm recorded in February this year in Langkawi Island and Alor Setar, Kedah while the highest temperature at 36.8 degrees Celcius was recorded in Kuala Krai, Kelantan on Feb 26.
He said a total of 1,586 cases of open burning were reported for the period of Jan 1 to March 10 this year.
“A total of 29 large-scale fires recorded which involved permanent forest reserves, shrubs and peatland as well as landfills,” he said, adding that all had been successfully put out.
Tuan Ibrahim said the DOE had taken action by issuing 52 field citations, 37 compounds, 62 notices of instruction, 168 letters of instruction and 26 preparation of investigation papers for possible court action.
“The government will take serious action to curb the issue of fires at illegal landfills and improve measures to prevent forest and peatland fires that affect air quality and cause local haze,” he said.
The National Haze Steering Committee, established in 1997, is responsible for reporting on the current status of haze conditions and dry hot weather plaguing the country.