By Yiswaree Palansamy
Muar has been declared an emergency area this morning after the air pollutant index (API) went as high as 750 while two Malacca towns recorded levels higher than 300.
The highest API ever recorded in Malaysia was in Sarawak in 1997 with reading of 860.
Natural Resources and Environment minister Datuk Seri G Palanivel said today the haze situation in the three towns have reached hazardous level. The other two towns are Bukit Rambai at 357 and Bandaraya Melaka at 364.
Director general of Environment Datuk Halimah Hassan this morning asked the National Security Council (NSC) director to declare emergency in Muar today.
The NSC is expected to issue instructions for residents to stay indoors and direct schools in several states to remain closed.
Palanivel also said the NSC will conduct cloud-seeding operations immediately to ensure rain will wash away the smoke billowing from across the Malacca Straits.
The API readings at selected towns at 8am this morning are: Pasir Gudang , Kemaman , Kelang , Balok Baru, Kuantan , Petaling Jaya , Johor Bahru , Shah Alam , Port Dickson , Kota Tinggi  and Banting. - June 23, 2013.