Selangor Journal
A Selangor Department of Environment personnel gestures at an open burning activity site in Bukit Kemuning, Shah Alam, on February 19, 2022. — Picture via FACEBOOK/JABATAN ALAM SEKITAR

Drastic increase in open burning cases in first two months — Minister

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — There was a very drastic increase in the number of open burnings in the first two months of this year, contributed by the extremely hot and dry weather, among others, said Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming.

In February alone, 5,556 cases of such fires were recorded, an increase of over six times or 645 per cent compared to the 746 cases recorded in January.

Among the states that experienced the highest increase were Kedah, which had 741 cases; Selangor (661 cases); Johor (505 cases); and Sabah (534 cases).

“Malaysia is currently in a phase of extremely hot and dry weather and is expected to have an impact on a significant increase in cases of open burning involving forests, fields, bushes, and garbage fires.

“The surge in cases of open burning increased sharply, especially in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, states in the north like Kedah, Perlis, and Penang, as well as Sabah and Sarawak,” he said when launching the Op Siaga Raya Aidilfitri 2024 at a shopping centre today .

Also present was Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) director-general Datuk Nor Hisham Mohammad.

Meanwhile, during the press conference after the launch, Nga said Malaysia recorded RM2.62 billion in fire losses last year, including various types of large-scale and domestic fire incidents.

Accordingly, he advised the public not to arbitrarily carry out open burning either for garbage disposal or for agricultural purposes in this dry season.

Today, JBPM has identified 652 hotspots at risk of open burning with focus locations including peatland and illegal waste dump sites, as well as waste disposal sites supervised by the local authorities.

In the meantime, up until February, JBPM had inspected 4,900 buildings, including 558 shopping centres, out of the target of 17,000 buildings throughout the country this year.

Earlier, Nga handed over the first five units of compact fire rescue tender CFRT to JBPM to boost the readiness of the department.

Op Siaga is aimed at formulating an initial strategy for preparation and preparedness to face emergency incidents which may occur during the festive season.

— Bernama

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