Amid heatwave, Selangor exco hits pause on burning for Qing Ming

Lazareen Thaveethu Moses
Hee urged the ethnic Chinese to reduce burning during the coming Qing Ming season. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

SHAH ALAM, March 20 — Selangor state lawmaker Hee Loy Sian hopes ethnic Chinese who observe the tomb cleaning practices will refrain from open burning during the coming Qing Ming season.

The state executive councillor in charge of environment, green technology and consumer affairs as well as the science, technology and innovation portfolios noted the danger of bushfire spreading during the current dry spell compounded by temperatures inching towards 40 degrees Celsius.

“We hope that there will be less open burnings, especially for Chinese who pray at the end of this month during Qing Ming, please reduce burning,” he said at the state assembly today.

Ethnic Chinese often burn offerings, including “hell money”, for their ancestors as part of traditional rituals for Qing Ming.

The Air Pollution Index (API) reading in various districts throughout Selangor was “unhealthy” the past few days.

In Banting, the API crossed the 100 level from the night of March 17 to the following night, Hee said.

The Kajang assemblyman noted bush fires along the North–South Expressway Central Link better known as ELITE since March 17 and fires in Sungai Pelek the last two days.

He said the Fire and Rescue Department is still putting out the flames in these areas while the Department of Environment have had to increase its patrols across the state to watch out for open burning occurrences.

However, he reported that the API at all monitoring stations statewide had returned to “moderate” levels, showing readings between 51 and 100.

Hee issued a reminder that Section 29(A), Environment Quality Act 1974 provides for jail up to five years and fines up to RM500,000 as well as maximum compounds of RM2,000 on those convicted of open burning.

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