KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 -- Approximately two million face masks have been distributed to students in areas affected by haze across the country, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today.
She said the government through the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) had so far sent 500,000 face masks to Sarawak and 1.5 million to other affected states.
The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has also set the ceiling price for five types of face masks and marked them as controlled items, she said.
“Stern action will be taken against any trader taking advantage of the situation and selling the mask at unreasonably higher prices.
“If anyone needs to be in open areas, he or she should wear a face mask for health reasons, and drink plenty of water,” she told reporters after distributing 2,000 N95-type face masks to the public at KL Sentral here today.
Commenting on Malaysia being at the top of world air pollution index, Dr Wan Azizah said Malaysia had become the victim of what happened in Kalimantan.
She said the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) had identified several areas in the country that were involved in open burning and had issued a notice to the relevant parties to stop the activities in view of the worsening haze situation.
“We cannot control the source. That is why the government is preparing several measures to tackle it,” she said.
Meanwhile, the deputy prime minister also said Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Zainal Abidin Bakar had convened a meeting with the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to inform them about the negative implications of the haze and air pollution to the Malaysian people.
She said the Malaysian government was also prepared to offer help and assistance to tackle the problem together.
She also lauded the call made by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for all mosques to hold the special ‘Istisqa’ prayer for rain to reduce the haze.