KUALA LUMPUR: Patients with diseases associated with respiratory illnesses are advised to take extra precautions during the haze period.
Institute of Respiratory Medicine director Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Muttalif said asthma patients and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should not expose themselves too much outdoor.
“Even if the air quality index is moderate, they must take precautions and stay indoors,” he said.
Dr Razak said for those with lung problems, the bad air quality could trigger an asthma attack.
“They have to increase their medication and wear masks when outdoor. If their conditions do not improve, they must go to the hospital,” he said.
Dr Razak also advised people to drink more water especially during this time.
The cause for the recent haze that hit the country was identified after satellite images indicated 600 hotspots with high temperature levels in Sumatra.
Smoke from the forest fires in Sumatra was then brought to Peninsular Malaysia by the monsoon winds and subsequently caused the current haze enveloping the affected areas in Peninsular Malaysia.
However the situation was not as bad as it was in 1997 and 2005, when the air pollutant index (API) reading recorded never seen before highs.
In 1997, Sarawak even declared an emergency because of the high API readings and this forced schools to close due to risk of contracting respiratory illnesses.
In 2005, an emergency was announced in Port Klang and Kuala Selangor when the API reached 500, again caused by massive and widespread forest fires from neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile the recent API readings showed good air quality in 39 areas and moderate in 11 others as of 11am on Thursday.
As at the time of reporting, the Department of Environment (DOE) has yet to highlight any area with unhealthy API reading.
The air quality in Malaysia is described in terms of API. It is an indicator of air quality and was developed based on scientific assessment to indicate the presence of pollutants and its impact on health. Good API ratings range from 0 to 50, while a moderate API is from 51 to 100. An API level of above 100 is unhealthy.
The API system in Malaysia follows the Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA).
According to the DOE, what could help the country in this situation is the wind blowing the polluted air to another area or air-cleansing rain.
A spokesman from DOE also stated that right now the relatively dry winds of the monsoon are carrying smoke particles and pollutants from the Sumatra fires in the direction of the peninsula.
“Open burning, continued emission of toxic fumes and generation of other air pollutants through our own over-consumption and activities are contributing to the haze,” he said.
Kuala Lumpur: Gas Malaysia Bhd will pay a guaranteed dividend of 100 per cent and 75 per cent in the first two years, respectively, after floating its shares on Bursa Malaysia in December this year.
MMC Corp Bhd group managing director, Datuk Hasni Harun said Gas Malaysia is on track for a listing as part of MMC’s strategy of unlocking value and reducing debt.
“The dividends are also to reward shareholders’ loyalty over the years,” Hasni told Business Times in an interview last Friday in conjunction with MMC’s 100-year anniversary.
MMC and Shapadu Group own 55 per cent of Gas Malaysia. Tokyo Gas-Mitsui and Co (Holdings) Sdn Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd hold another 25 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) also has a golden share in Gas Malaysia.
Gas Malaysia submitted its initial public offer (IPO) request to the Securities Commission on August 23 and is waiting for approval.
“Gas Malaysia’s strong balance sheet with zero debt will attract good response for the IPO. MMC is optimistic of Gas Malaysia’s prospects as it is poised to deliver strong and sustainable performance driven by continued demand from industrial customers,” said Hasni.
Gas Malaysia is the sole supplier of natural gas to the non-power sector and supplies energy to over 31,000 residential and 600 commercial customers as well as industrial costumers throughout Peninsular Malaysia.
The company enjoys strong backing from Petronas and has a long-term agreement with the national oil corporation to supply 300 million standard cubic feet per day of gas.
Gas Malaysia’s recession-proof gas reticulation business will continue to provide MMC with a steady stream of cashflow. Hasni revealed that Gas Malaysia’s volume grew six per cent in the first half of 2011, underlying stable demand for the product.
Hasni was reported to have said that Gas Malaysia could have a market value of about RM5 billion and raise up to RM167 million. MMC’s stake would be diluted to 30.93 per cent from 41.80 per cent.
MMC, controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, is also planning other IPOs after Gas Malaysia.
These include 51 per cent unit Malakoff Bhd next year and subsequently either wholly-owned Johor Port Bhd, subsidiary Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) or Johor Port and PTP combined.
“We will see what happens. We want the port business to mature first generating RM300 million or RM400 million of profit by 2013 before we go for listing,” Hasni added.
PTP and Johor Port made a pre-tax profit of RM52 million and RM155 million, respectively, in 2010.
Hasni said the listing of the ports is necessary as they are hitting maximum capacity. It would, therefore, need to spend some RM1 billion to expand.
MMC, which operates ports and power plants, is the country’s largest container port operator, commanding 40 per cent of Malaysia’s total container throughput with a maximum capacity of 8.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year.
MMC is also the project delivery partner for the country’s RM36 billion mass rapit transit project together with Gamuda Bhd, its joint venture partner.
The medical center is a wholly owned subsidiary of national oil and gas company Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd) is located in the heart of the Klang Valley where it reported that they had non-current liabilities of RM714.3million while current liabilities were at RM35.1million. Read more