Environment Minister Palanivel sleeping on his job when Malaysians particularly in Johore are suffering from haze hazards

I am both impressed and dejected – impressed by the professionalism of the Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) in recording and posting on its website the hourly Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) to provide accurate and timely information about air pollution levels in the island republic; dejected by the contrasting failure and lack of professionalism of the Malaysian Department of Environment (DOE) to provide prompt readings on its website of the Air Pollutant Index (API) from its 52 Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS) locations in the country, although the API readings are only provided thrice a day at 7am, 11 am and 5 pm.

I was checking the 11 am API readings on the DOE website, http://doe.gov.my/apims/, but the results only appeared after more than two hours, i.e. after 1 pm. In contrast, when I checked the PSI readings of the Singapore NEA, its 1 pm reading promptly appeared at 1 pm sharp.

I can understand that with 52 API readings from 52 APIM locations throughout Malaysia, it is not practically possible to post the latest API readings for all the 52 locations on the dot of time, i.e. results for 11 am posted immediately at 11 am, but surely, it does not have to take more than two hours to post the latest API readings on its website.

Is it being unreasonable to expect the latest API readings to be posted within 10 minutes of the given time, i.e. 7 am, 11 am and 5 pm, if the system is efficient and professional?

Furthermore, why is it not possible for the DOE to post its API readings hourly?

This is an example where the new Environment Minister Datuk Seri S. Palanivel is sleeping on his job when Malaysians particularly in Johore are suffering from the haze hazards.

From the 11 am API (*) readings, Muar air quality deteriorated swiftly in the four hours from 7 am when it was “very unhealthy” with API 276 worsening to the hazardous level of 373, while the other three APIM locations in Johore continued on the higher side of the “unhealthy” levels, viz:

Location 7 am 11 am
Kota Tinggi 191 187
Larkin Lama 175 170
Muar 276 141
Pasir Gudang 192 190

It is regrettable that despite the haze emergency in Johore, the Department of Environment has failed to set up more APIM locations in the state to monitor the air pollution readings – such as Kulai, Pontian, Batu Pahat, Kluang, Segamat etc. This is another example of Pananivel sleeping on his job as Environment Minister.

Other critical areas with “unhealthy” API readings at 11 am today are:

Malacca 176 178
Bukit Rambai 189 182
Nilai 119 113
Port Dickson 156 141
Seremban 106 109
Port Klang 118 139

* The Department of Environment lists API levels from 51 to 100 as moderate, 101 to 200 as unhealthy, and 201 to 300 as very unhealthy. Levels above 301 are dangerous.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah