Fire safety: “Sultanah Aminah Hospital tragedy must not be repeated”

Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, March 31: The fatal fire at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru is a painful lesson that all private offices and public buildings, especially hospitals, must meet all fire safety requirements.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said fire safety in buildings especially those where people gathered should be of utmost priority.

“Fire safety is utmost priority and there should be no exemptions for any public buildings or private offices.”

“The fire at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru was a painful lesson for all of us to learn. We must learn so that the same mistake will not be repeated.”

The fire which took place on Oct 25, 2016 resulted in deaths of six patients in the hospital’s ICU ward.

On the issue of Wisma Bapa Malaysia which is in the midst of obtaining Fire Certificate (FC) for 2019, Dr Sim said said this should not be the case as there are hundreds working in the building alone.

“Imagine our Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) is at risk on the top floor of Wisma Bapa?

“In fact, we have cabinet meetings there and the whole cabinet is being put at risk? This should not be the case,” Dr Sim told DayakDaily.

The Batu Kawah assemblyman believed that all the relevant agencies must take immediate steps to comply with the fire safety law.

He thanked Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Sarawak Bomba) for the courage to not compromise on public safety.

Sarawak Bomba director Khirudin Drahman revealed yesterday that there are 13 government buildings categorised under “designated building” in Sarawak, including Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and SGH Heart Centre which do not have FCs.

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

He said the 13 premises had been given until end of 2019 to obtain their FC because there were many passive and active systems that needed to be maintained before being certified.

Obtaining a FC is important because a thorough inspection would be conducted on the building’s fire safety system such as fire alarm equipment, fire extinguishers and emergency routes to ensure they function and can be used in the event of a fire.

Khirudin warned that Bomba was taking the matter seriously and building owners will be given time to meet the requirements.

Court action will be taken against those who fail to comply, he said. — DayakDaily