PUTRAJAYA (The Star/Asia News Network) - Malaysia's government will declare a "heatwave emergency" if the temperature in an area exceeds 40 deg C for seven days or more.
The move is tops in a list of measures in the new heatwave "action plan" that was approved by the Cabinet on Friday (March 18).
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who made the announcement, also said that schools in areas where the temperature hits 37 deg C and above for more than three days will be ordered to close.
He also said the Cabinet had approved the setting up of a special committee on the heatwave, which he will chair.
"The committee will be tasked to monitor the heatwave situation and execute the action plan," said Dr Wan Junaidi at a press conference.
"A first warning will be issued if temperatures reach or exceed 37 degrees Celcius for 72 hours. When the first warning is issued, we will order the postponement of outdoor activities at schools and outdoor sports activities.
"If the temperature hits 37 deg C for more than 72 hours, that is when we issue the second warning. Schools in affected areas will be ordered to close.
"The National Disaster Management Agency will be convened for a special meeting to discuss an emergency response plan.
"If temperatures go beyond 40 deg C for seven days or more, then the agency will declare a 'heatwave emergency' and announce the emergency measures to be taken," he said.