SHAH ALAM, Feb 9 — The public has been reminded not to conduct open burning activities in the current hot and dry weather as the country is experiencing the second phase of the Northeast Monsoon until mid-March.

The Department of Environment (DoE), in a statement today, said during the period, the country will see a decline in rainfall distribution, resulting in hot and dry weather conditions in Peninsular Malaysia.

“During this period, there is a concern of an increase in open burning incidents, especially in areas such as peatlands and landfills, as well as an increase in cases and complaints of open burning in illegal landfills, residential areas or neighbourhood,” the statement read.

In this regard, DoE called for stricter enforcement action to address the issue of open burning and air pollution.

It said those convicted of committing open burning can be fined up to RM500,000 or jailed for a term not exceeding five years or both under Section 29(A) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, adding that compounds of up to RM2,000 can also be imposed for each offence.

The department also urged the public to report any cases of open burning or fire to the Fire and Rescue Department at 999 and DOE’s toll-free line at 1-800-88-2727 or via DOE's e-Aduan system at — Bernama