Malaysia may close schools if heatwave goes on

Students watching a partial solar eclipse at the Planetarium in Kuala Lumpur on March 9.
Students watching a partial solar eclipse at the Planetarium in Kuala Lumpur on March 9. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's Education Ministry may decide to close schools if the extreme heat continues, Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday, as the country experiences unusually hot weather and reduced rainfall.

Temperatures have reached 34 deg C in Petaling Jaya, 36 deg C in Ipoh and Malacca, 37 deg C in Alor Setar and 38 deg C in Perlis in recent days, due to the El Nino phenomenon, state news agency Bernama reported yesterday.

The school session is due to resume on March 20 or March 21 after the end of the first term break.

Datuk Seri Najib said existing guidelines authorise school heads to cancel outdoor activities if conditions warrant it. "The government will take all necessary precautionary measures on the extreme heat," Mr Najib said in a post on his blog.

The premier said he was very concerned about the dangerous effects of the extreme heat, especially on children and the elderly.

He urged the public to seek immediate medical treatment in government clinics or hospitals if they experience symptoms related to the hot weather or heatwave such as headaches, rapid heartbeat, rashes, cramps or body pains.

He also urged the public to take precautions against fires especially in playgrounds near housing estates, farms, bushes and forests.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2016, with the headline 'Schools may close if heatwave goes on'. Print Edition | Subscribe