Forest fires in neighboring Kalimantan, Indonesia, caused the significant decline in air quality, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told state media.
“We cannot control the source. That is why the government is preparing several measures to tackle it,” she said.
The Malaysian leader said the country stood prepared to help Indonesia tackle the problem, Bernama reported.
Singapore also issued a health advisory last week due to heightened air pollution from the blazes in Indonesia, warning residents to stay indoors.
Indonesian forest fire season is in full swing
The blazes in Indonesia occur annually. Paper and palm oil plantations farm their crop in the rich peatlands of the Sumatran coast and the island of Borneo.
Every year, the farmland is dried out and burned to prepare for the following year’s crop and to clear forests. Peat, dry and rich in carbon, can burn for weeks.
At its peak, air pollution in Indonesia has reached levels as high as 1,000.
Those found guilty of setting the fires can be fined up to 10 billion rupiah, or $700,000, and managers of firms setting them may face up to 10 years in jail. But identifying suspects has proven difficult, and the fires have continued.
CNN’s Akanksha Sharma, Helen Regan, Jessie Yeung and Carly Walsh contributed to this report.