KUALA LUMPUR: The haze has spread to many parts of the nation, but officials are sticking by their guns that it will last only for a short period.
The Air Pollutant Index readings showed air quality in many areas had deteriorated yesterday, with more areas recording unhealthy levels than the previous day.
A Meteorological Services Department spokesman said initial estimates that the haze would only be around for a short period were accurate.
The spokesman repeated earlier reasons for the hazy conditions — that transitioning weather from the current inter-monsoon season to the North-East Monsoon resulted in the haze moving from Sumatra to Malaysia.
"There is also some inconsistent wind patterns which have affected the weather conditions," he said.
He said isolated thunderstorms and showers expected today in many parts of the peninsula, some parts of Sabah and Limbang and Kuching in Sarawak would help ease the situation.
In Kota Baru, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government would carry out cloud seeding to induce rain in areas which had been badly affected by the haze.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the Kelantan Umno liaison meeting here yesterday, Najib said this had been done before in Sarawak just before the National Day celebrations in Kuching in August.
But the government’s ability to deal with the yearly weather phenomenon was hampered by the fact the haze originated from neighbouring Indonesia, he added.
"The area where these fires are from is huge and there is nothing we can do about that. At the same time, whether we are affected is dependent on wind direction.
"We are hoping that the wind direction changes soon. But if we need to perform cloud seeding we will," Najib said.
API readings at 5pm yesterday showed 15 areas had "unhealthy" readings with Sarawak being the worst-hit.
The air quality in Sabah improved slightly with Tawau, deemed unhealthy on Wednesday. All other areas in Sabah were considered moderate.
In the peninsula, Negri Sembilan and Malacca were affected with Nilai registering the highest reading in the peninsula at 118, with Seremban close behind at 114.
In Malacca, Bukit Rambai recorded 111 while Malacca town showed a reading of 104.
Other unhealthy areas in the peninsula were Muar (104), Kuala Selangor and Putrajaya (both 102).