PASIR GUDANG: The Education Ministry is monitoring the haze situation closely in Sarawak, especially on health issues involving students currently sitting for the UPSR examination.
Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (pic) said this comes following air pollutant index (API) recordings at unhealthy levels.
"The Sarawak Education Department will take the necessary steps based upon the current standard operating procedures.
"The ministry is waiting for the report coming from the department as whatever decision we will make would be based upon their report," he added.
Maszlee said this when met after officiating at the Merdeka Special Charity Run held at Pasir Gudang Xtreme Park here on Sunday (Sept 8).
It was reported that nine areas nationwide were flagged as having worrying API levels.
Eight of these areas were in Sarawak, with Kuching and Samarahan recording a "very unhealthy" API level of more than 200.
Kuching had the most polluted air quality yesterday, with its API level hitting 221 as at 5pm on Saturday while Samarahan recorded a level of 203.
Bernama, quoting Sarawak Disaster Management Committee secretariat head Major Ismail Mahedin from the Sarawak Civil Defence Force, reported that face masks had been handed over to the state Education Department for distribution to students in Kuching, Samarahan, Serian and Sri Aman.
"If the API readings exceed 201, schools will be closed but the UPSR examination will go on as scheduled under strict supervision by the school and exam invigilators," he said in a statement on Saturday.
A total of 40,448 students are sitting for the UPSR in the state. The Mathematics and Science papers are scheduled for Sept 10 to 12.