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Adenan Satem should immediately announce hourly API reports through radio, television and Internet from 7 am to 7 pm or it is time to have a new Environment Minister who is prepared to give his heart and soul to the environment challenge posed by the haze catastrophe
(Parliament, Thursday): The first thing Malaysians - who went to bed last night in shock that the air they breathe in 13 places are “unhealthy”, “very unhealthy” or “hazardous” after the end of the eight-year secrecy of the Air Pollutant Index (API) - wanted to know when they woke up this morning was the quality of the air they live or work but they all came up against a wall as there was no way for them to check the latest API in the country. What they could learn was the API for 5 p.m. yesterday.
The Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Adenan Satem should immediately announce hourly API reports through radio, television and Internet from 7 am to 7 pm or it is time to have a new Environment Minister who is prepared to give his heart and soul to the environment challenge posed by the haze catastrophe – and not spend the majority of his waking time preoccupied about his political future in Sarawak state politics.
The Singapore National Environment Agency provides hourly air pollution index reading (PSI – Pollution Standards Index) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (http://app.nea.gov.sg/psi/). Is there any reason why this could not immediately be done by the Department of Environment (DOE)?
Adnan in fact owes Malaysians a full and proper explanation whether they had been misled in the past several days about the severity of the air pollution from the haze, as the people had never been given any confirmation that air pollution had already been in the “very unhealthy” let alone “hazardous” level from the API readings – which explains the shock of Malaysians that five places, namely Port Klang, Kuala Selangor, Shah Alam, Putrajaya and Petaling Jaya leapfrogged to the “hazardous” level with API reading from 301 to 500, without anyone knowing that they had even been in the “very unhealthy” zone of API reading from 201 to 300, and for how long.
Adnan should direct the DOE to make public the API readings for the past week to clarify whether the authorities had been frank and truthful about the API in the past several days, when despite official denials, Malaysians already felt that the haze had reached very unhealthy and even hazardous levels. This is not the time for fault-finding as to who must be held responsible for misleading the people about the severity of the API in the past several days, but Adnan must come clean on the matter if public confidence in government credibility is not to come under a great discount.
There is a shocking lack of clarity of about the line of responsibility in the handling of the haze disaster – about who is responsible and for what.
Adenan said that the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, would take over the haze responsibility when the API reading reached the hazardous level of exceeding 300 points.
Adenan said in his post-Cabinet press conference that the NSC had been informed that Port Klang, Shah Alam and Kuala Lumpur had passed the 300 API mark and that the council will manage the situation in these three areas.
By 5 p.m. yesterday, Putrajaya and Petaling Jaya had exceeded the 300 API mark. Had Putrajaya and Petaling Jaya been handed over to the NSC and what does this handling over to the NSC imply? Are the areas immediately handed back to the Ministry of Environment when the API mark falls below 301? Is Najib now the Anti-Haze Supremo and what does it mean? Nobody seems to know.
During the 1997 haze catastrophe, the Cabinet approved an Anti-Haze Action Plan, which triggered off the following actions for the "very unhealthy" level between 201 and 300 and the "hazardous" level between 301-500 of the API:
Najib should explain whether this Anti-Haze Action Plan approved by the Cabinet in August 1997 still applies, and if not, what is the new Anti-Haze Action Plan.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman