GEORGE TOWN, Sept 13 — Penang is leaving it to the Federal Government to decide whether cloud seeding should be carried out in the state, which, like many other parts of the country, has been hit by severe haze.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said cloud seeding comes under the purview of the Federal Government, whom he believed would carry similar exercises to the one planned in Selangor should the weather condition worsen.
“I am sure that they (Federal Government) are monitoring the situation, beginning from the most serious state like Sarawak and will do cloud seeding wherever needed, including in Penang,” he told reporters after launching the StepUp Initiative programme at the Karpal Singh Learning Centre here.
Following the haze condition, Chow yesterday announced the state government’s decision to stop all outdoor activities until the weather improved.
As of 3pm today, the Air Pollutant Index (API) at three of the four monitoring stations in the state were at unhealthy levels, namely Minden at 114, Balik Pulau (107) and Seberang Jaya (106), while Seberang Perai’s API was still at a moderate level with a reading of 96.
Meanwhile, Chow said the Penang Government, through the Penang Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Penang STEM) platform launched the ‘StepUp Initiative’ to address declining interests and standards among Penang students towards science and mathematics.
He said the initiative aimed to ignite the interests of students at lower secondary school level towards STEM and inspire them to opt for studies in science stream from Form Four onwards.
“The statistics have shown that there is now a decreasing number of science classes in secondary schools. This is something that the Education Ministry must consider and Penang can feel it because we are an industrial state and require a large number of talents to support the industries,” he said.
While the state government had always been supportive of the initiative to promote STEM interests, the efforts alone would not be enough to achieve the objectives.
“We need the collaboration of the industries as well. This (StepUp Initiative) may just be an elementary level (programme) but as the participants move up, other skill development centres and universities such as USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) would also need to support and eventually produce sufficient graduates for our industries,” he added. — Bernama