Almost 2,500 schools were ordered to suspend classes in Malaysia - including almost 300 in the smog-hit capital of Kuala Lumpur - over soaring health concerns sparked by toxic haze from out-of-control blazes in Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo islands.
Hundreds of faculties were shuttered all the design in which through Malaysia and Indonesia Thursday, affecting no lower than 1.7 million pupils, officers said, as poisonous haze from rampant woodland fires sent air quality plummeting.
Indonesia's Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar had recently named four Malaysian companies for allegedly being partly responsible for the fires in her country and that orders had been given to seal off their palm oil plantations.
Over 1,500 schools have reportedly closed in Malaysia, with the capital Kuala Lumpur, west of Borneo and approximately 225 miles to the north of the Singapore border, among the worst affected areas.
This is the third cloud-seeding operation over Peninsular Malaysia since Monday, which brought torrential rain but only short-term relief as smoke continues to blow in from Indonesia. A growing number of Malaysians were suffering health problems due to the haze, with authorities saying there had been a sharp increase in outpatients at government hospitals―many suffering dry and itchy eyes.
Poor visibility closed seven airports in the Indonesian part of Borneo, the transport ministry in Jakarta said.
Air quality in Singapore worsened to unhealthy levels and a white smog obscured the striking waterfront skyline, featuring the Marina Bay Sands casino resort with its three towers and boat-shaped top level.
The air quality level in the city-state remained unhealthy for a second day with the National Environment Agency warning of hazy weather conditions in the next few days.
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The haze crisis comes as Singapore gears up to host a Formula One motor dawdle on Sunday.
Spectators will be able to buy face masks to protect against the smog at the circuit and assistance will be provided for those who do not feel well, Singapore tourism board said.
Mahathir said his government would call on the Malaysian companies to put out the fires.
The fires have sparked tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia.
He said action must be taken against Malaysian companies whose plantations outside Malaysia are allegedly contributing towards the haze due to the burning on their estates.
The Indonesian government has insisted it is doing all it can to fight the blazes.
However the onset of the rainy season, which typically begins in October, may perhaps most seemingly maybe most seemingly be the finest thing ready to douse the blazes.
The Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency said Saturday that 99 percent of the hotspots were caused by deliberately set fires.