The government is prepared to declare an emergency if the current hot spell in the country turns extreme, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Zahid, who is also the National Disaster Management Agency chairman, said the National Security Council Directive 20 on a declaration of emergency would be activated if temperatures hit excessively high levels.
"We are monitoring on a 24-hour basis. If there is an emergency we will make an announcement. There is none yet," he told a press conference after chairing the first central disaster management committee meeting 2023 at Perdana Putra today.
Zahid said cloud-seeding operations would be conducted at seven locations to replenish dams with dropping water levels, namely Sungai Muda and Sungai Kedah in Kedah; Sungai Melaka in Melaka; Sungai Kelantan in Kelantan; Sungai Klang in Selangor; Sungai Bernam at the Perak-Selangor border; and Sungai Similajau in Sarawak.
He said the operations involving collaboration between the Malaysian Armed Forces and Malaysian Meteorological Department would focus on these locations because the water levels were expected to drop further and affect the water supply.
Zahid said he would conduct checks at Sungai Muda and Sungai Kedah regarding the cloud conditions for the seeding process.
He said today's meeting was informed that open burning was expected to occur at 406 locations identified as peat soil areas.
"A total of 616 round-the-clock monitoring operations are being implemented in areas identified as prone to fire outbreaks, especially for the category of farms and plantations, forests, bushes and garbage sites," he said.
Zahid also said 101 tube wells had been built to facilitate firefighting operations in forests located far away from water sources and which were frequently hit by fires.