IPOH/KUALA LUMPUR - Several flights between Ipoh in Malaysia and Singapore were cancelled on Sunday (Sept 22) morning because of poor visibility caused by the haze, Bernama news agency reported.
Six of the 14 scheduled flights at Ipoh's Sultan Azlan Shah Airport had to be cancelled.
Airport manager Mohd Ali Osman said the cancelled flights were run by AirAsia for the routes of Johor Baru-Ipoh-Singapore as well as the return flights, according to Bernama.
FlyScoot, Singapore's budget carrier, also had to cancel flights between Singapore and Ipoh.
"The visibility was 2,000m as at 7am on Sunday, " Mr Ali said in a statement, adding that the cancellations affected 747 passengers.
Air Pollutant Index (API) readings at all five monitoring stations in Perak showed unhealthy air quality at 8am on Sunday, said Bernama.
An API between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy; and 301 and above, hazardous.
Meanwhile, more areas in Malaysia were reporting unhealthy air quality on Sunday.
As at 8am, 38 areas had unhealthy API readings, compared to 18 on Saturday, Bernama reported.
The areas include Johor, Kedah, Melaka, Pahang and Terengganu.
In Kuala Lumpur, the API readings in Cheras and Batu Muda remained in the unhealthy category at 153 and 173, respectively, Bernama said, while Putrajaya recorded an API reading of 138.
In Sarawak, the air quality in Sri Aman hit the very unhealthy range at 12pm, with a reading of 202.
Meanwhile, The Star reported that fifty-seven schools in Kuala Langat and Klang districts will close on Monday after the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings went over the 200-mark.
The closure of the 57 schools will affect 68,025 students, said the Selangor Education Department in a statement on Sunday, adding that API readings of more than 200 were recorded at the Johan Setia station at 2pm on Sunday.
“As at 3pm, we received reports that the schools that will be closed on Sept 23 involve 57 schools under the Kuala Langat and Klang district education office.
"Based on the API readings at 3pm at other reference stations for schools in Selangor, it showed a reading of below 200.
“Therefore, all schools that were not listed must operate as usual on Monday, ” said the department in a statement.
For schools with API readings over 100, the administrators are reminded to stop all outdoor activities, and to postpone outdoor sports and celebrations.
“Schools are also reminded that should the API readings reach over 200, the schools can take action in line with the Education Ministry’s Broadcast Letter number 1/2019 by immediately closing the school and reporting the closure to the district administrative officer or state Education Department,” it said.
All schools involved are also reminded to refer to the standard operating procedure (SOP) on school closure due to the haze released on Sept 18.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the Education Ministry said that all the 296 schools that were closed on Sept 19 and Sept 20 in Kuala Lumpur will operate as usual starting Monday after API readings in those areas showed improvements.
An API reading of between 0 and 50 is good while 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above deemed hazardous.