KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry had no choice but to make the snap decision to close schools when the API index reached 195 on Monday night.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (pix), defended the announcement issued at 11.30pm, Monday.
"The haze is like a natural disaster and it's unpredictable," he said at the Teachers Training Institute (IPG) here.
Parents had taken to social media to criticise the ministry after being left in the lurch or being forced to go on emergency leave.
Mahdzir said more that 1.5 million students in Selangor, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan were affected.
He said schools will remain closed in these states until further notice and parents should monitor the news for updates.
He said the ministry was monitoring API readings in Perak, Terengganu and Pahang to determine if schools here also had to close.