The Malaysian Health Ministry advised the public to stay indoors and shut the doors and windows as a thin layer of ash from a Sumatran volcano located 271km west of Pulau Pangkor is expected to arrive in parts of southwest peninsular Malaysia.
National Weather Forecast Centre director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said the affected areas could include coastal regions of Negri Sembilan, Malacca as well as Muar, Batu Pahat, Pontian and Kulaijaya in Johor.
“The amount of ash is not that much at the moment, probably a thin layer. It may be a bit hazy but it will be difficult to say how much,” he said.
He added that an advisory about the volcanic ash had been sent to the aviation industry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also advised the public to wear masks, use a cloth or a wet handkerchief as a respiratory protective device and refrain from driving in ashy conditions since it may be difficult due to poor visibility.
“Children, elderly people and those who have medical problems should avoid or reduce outdoor activities during this time,” he said.
The Meteorological Department said in a statement that volcanic ash from Mount Sinabung, which erupted over the weekend and again on Monday, could be blown towards the southern states due to a northwesterly wind that is expected to persist.
15 people were killed when Sinabung erupted over the weekend, shooting rocks and hot ash into the air. Authorities had evacuated about 30,000 people.
Sinabung, which had been sporadically erupting since September, is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
So far, flight operations are currently unaffected and the visibility is good in all airports. Hence, those who are about to travel need not worry for now.