Fires can affect foreign investor confidence, cautions Chong

Dr Yii and Khirudin (left) giving the thumbs-up to the Bomba fire safety campaign.

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Jan 30: Incidences of fire is a key factor in financial analysis before foreign investors bring their investments into the country.

Therefore, it is crucial for the state to continue inculcating the public on fire prevention and safety as well as strengthening the fire fighting capability of the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba).


Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said poor statistics and losses from fire incidents would inadvertently create a negative impact on the country’s economic growth.

He added that many among the general public always assume that fire incidents would not happen to them easily or that losses from fire incidents would not affect their daily lives.

“If we see this on a micro side of things, foreign investors will evaluate the strength of fire prevention and safety awareness of the local population before they bring in their investments.

“If they chose to bring their business elsewhere, it will affect the country’s income,” he said at the state Bomba ‘fire safety awareness campaign’ launch here today.

His text-of-speech was read out by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii. Also present was state Bomba director Khirudin Drahman.

Chong also touched on the importance of inculcating awareness on fire safety and prevention among children so that such practices would become a habit.

Touching on emergency calls statistics involving Bomba in Sarawak last year, he said fire incidents were quite frequent.

Out of 15,914 emergency calls recorded in 2018, a total of 5,807 involved search and rescue, while 2,388 were reports of fire. Another 7,703 were calls for special services and 16 were false calls.

In terms of property losses suffered by fire victims, Chong said the value was estimated at RM77.6 million. On a positive note, this was a drop of RM5.5 million, when compared to RM83.1 million recorded in 2017.

Value of properties which were managed to be saved last year was RM627 million, an increase of 67 per cent or some RM420 million when compared to RM206 million recorded the previous year.

Meanwhile, Khirudin, in his speech, raised the need to produce more “fire fighting champions”, whom he described as those who are fully aware and knowledgable on fire safety and prevention.

Citing the importance of inculcating fire safety awareness among the public, the state Bomba chief said it was better for firefighters to meet the people when the circumstances don’t involve fire incidents.

“We will strengthen efforts to raise awareness on fire safety and prevention because we want to see you before any fire incidents.

“When it already involves fighting fire, it is already a losing battle because the victims have suffered losses,” he said.

Relating his 30 years of experience in fire fighting, Khirudin said fire incidents could happen to anybody, regardless of social status and background.

“Fire is blind. It never selects its victims. That is why it is important for us to strengthen community participation when it comes to fire safety awareness, especially in rural areas.

“Apart from prevention, it is important to teach the people how to control small fires to lessen the impact and spread that could threaten public safety.” — DayakDaily