Malaysia was hit by the worst haze it has experienced since early this year as smoke from forest fires caused alarming levels of pollution in six areas on August 5.

According to Department of the Environment General Director Rosnani Ibarahum, hundreds of forest fires were blazing in the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan and Sumatra and in Malaysia ’s Sarawak state on Borneo Island .

She said that the number of forest fire hotspots has increased since August 2 due to dry weather and burning activities for cultivation.

The Air Pollutant Index (API) was at unhealthy levels of between 102 and 137 in six areas, including a district of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, as well as two districts in surrounding Selangor state and three in Sarawak.

The haze reached its worst level in 1997-1998, costing the Southeast Asian region an estimated 9 billion USD due to the disruption of air travel and other business activities./.