Penangites were told that the Air Pollution Index (API) in Seberang Prai reached an "unhealthy" level yesterday but were denied information on the severity of the air pollution and threat to health. Today, haze has descended to the Klang Valley and blanketted visibility, posing new health hazards to the people.
The Minister for Science, Environment and Technology, Datuk Law Hieng Ding is doing Malaysians and future generations a great disservice in refusing to release the API data even though it had begun to cross the "unhealthy" level.
Law should take immediate action to release regular API readings at least twice a day to give greater priority to the health of Malaysians, particularly of the young generation than to the tourism industry for fear that the API figures would drive away tourists.
Law should realise that in this era of information technology, it is sheer folly for the government to pretend that it could mislead foreign tourists into believing that there is pure and clean air in the country although API readings showed otherwise.
Law should present a Ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday on
the return of the haze, the prospects for the next few months and
explain what steps have been taken jointly with Indonesia and other ASEAN
countries to prevent a recurrence of the 1997 haze which took on the dimension
of a global environmental disaster.