Scorching Malaysian heat wave forces closure of schools

Kuala Lumpur, April 11 (IANS) Soaring temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius in northern Malaysia have prompted the education ministry to shut 259 schools in Pahang and Perlis states on Monday.

The closures were a “precautionary” measure to protect the health of the 97,533 total students at 191 nurseries and primary schools and 68 secondary schools in the two states, according to Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid, as cited by the Astro Awani newspaper.

The move comes as Southeast Asia swelters amid a heat wave that has exacerbated droughts in neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, with water levels in dams and reservoirs regionwide hitting critically low levels and farmers suffering devastating crop losses, EFE news reported.

It is the second time in less than a month that Malaysian schools have shut due to the extreme heat, with 12 days of 39.1-degree weather in the second half of March prompting a similar closure.

According to the government task force on school closures, if temperatures stay at 37 degrees Celsius or above for more than 72 days, school classes should be temporarily suspended.

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