PUTRAJAYA, Feb 23 — Relevant departments and agencies have to be prepared to carry out large-scale fire suppression and cloud seeding operations in view of the current hot and dry weather and the El Nino phenomenon.

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said that this matter was agreed upon during the National Committee on Haze and Dry Weather meeting, chaired by him here yesterday.

“The departments and agencies involved must always be prepared to carry out immediate large-scale fire suppression and cloud seeding operations if needed, subject to suitable atmospheric conditions.

“The government is always ready to face hot and dry weather conditions as well as the El Niño phenomenon,” he said in a statement today.


Furthermore, he said that ministries, departments, agencies, and state governments must also always be aware of changes in the country’s weather and air quality.

Information can be accessed through the myCuaca application and the official website of the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the MyIPU application, and the portal of the Air Pollution Index Management System (APIMS) of the Department of Environment.

“The relevant ministries, departments, and agencies will take action as outlined in the National Haze Action Plan based on the warning levels and air pollutant index (API) readings,” he said.


Malaysia is currently in the final phase of the North-East Monsoon which will last until the end of March. Reduced distribution of rain will lead to hot and dry weather.

At the same time, the strong intensity El Nino phenomenon currently affecting the world is expected to cause the country’s daily maximum temperature to record higher than usual readings.

This phenomenon is expected to persist until the second quarter of 2024, and the transition of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to a neutral phase is expected to occur around April to June.

Nik Nazmi said the ministry, in collaboration with other ministries, departments, agencies, and state governments, would take a whole-of-government approach to combat illegal landfill fires.

The ministry will also enhance preventive measures against forest and peatland fires, which cause local haze, affecting the country’s air quality and public health.

From Jan 1 to Feb 19, he said 1,043 complaints on open burning were recorded, with waste burning being the highest involving 715 cases.

The Department of Environment also took enforcement actions by issuing 79 field citations, five compound notices, 12 order notices, and conducting 666 monitoring activities. — Bernama