Fire certificates: See you in court, Bomba tells 7 recalcitrant premises owners

Khirudin speaking at the FC handover ceremony at Roxy Hotel Kuching today (Aug 7, 2020).

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Aug 7: Legal action will be taken against seven building premises that refused to comply with Bomba’s repeated notice to comply with fire safety.

Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director PKPjB Khirudin Drahman revealed today that the department has submitted their papers against seven premises owners in the state.

“These premises have continued to disobey by not renewing or applying for Fire Certificates (FCs) despite the time frame given. We will now let the court decide.

“It does not matter whether the premises is a government or private building. Bomba will follow the law accordingly and it gives us the power to bring the irresponsible to court,” he told reporters after handing over a FC to Roxy Hotel Kuching today.

Under the Fire Services Act 1988, there are nine categories of premises which are required to have FC — libraries, hospitals, hotels, hostels, offices, shops, factories, assembly areas and storage areas.

Errant owners who fail to get an FC could be charged under the Fire Services Act, which provides for a fine of RM50,000 or five years’ jail or both, upon conviction.

Khirudin pointed out that all designated premises must have an FC issued by the department.

Bomba have identified 642 premises in Sarawak which requires FCs and to-date, Khirudin said, only 348 premises have valid certificate.

Another 191 premises does not have active FCs (expired), while the remaining 103 premises do not have certificates at all.

“However, these premises are in the process of renewing or applying for their FC. Among the reasons given to Bomba was the building owner needed more time to repair or renovate according to the guidelines and specifications. There are also cases where they appealed to us to give them more time to apply for FC due to budget constraints.

“When our offices carried out inspections, we found there were changes made in the building against the original plan submitted. This includes major renovations such as breaking walls and ceilings, removal of fire doors and others. There are also premises that operate with no FC,” he explained.

Bomba will issue notices to these premises to comply.

Khirudin said the period to comply with the notice can range between 30 to 180 days, depending on the need.

“However, many people do not understand. They think Bomba simply issues notices to comply just for the sake of issuing or to act mean against the premises owner. The department does understand the big financial impact when making such improvements. What we usually do is give building owners the time needed to rectify any weaknesses.

“Hence, we don’t straightaway issue you compounds or bring you to court. We will always give you a time frame to comply. If the system is simple to comply with, then we will give you a minimum of 30 days. If you need to do major repairs according to the specifications stated, we will give you more time, even up to six months. Bomba is not as cruel as you think,” Khirudin stressed.

Meanwhile, not all designated premises actually require FCs because it depends on the size of the area.

Although some are not required to have an FC, they must comply with the removal of fire hazards (MBK), which could lead to untoward accidents.

Examples of MBK are a minimum of two exits or staircase, good housekeeping and maintenance of the premises. — DayakDaily