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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 30: The Health Ministry is in the process of upgrading safety features in public health facilities nationwide, which included obtaining the fire certificate (FC) as required under the Fire Services Act 1988.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said there were special allocations to upgrade fire prevention measures in all hospitals throughout the country, following the Oct 25, 2016, fire at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru, where six people were killed.
He was responding to a news report by DayakDaily today (March 30), in which the state Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) revealed that two public healthcare facilities in the state, namely the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) and the SGH Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan, were among 13 government buildings in Sarawak yet to obtain an FC.
“I am not certain about the situation in the two hospitals as I need to verify with the Sarawak Health Department and its director Dr Jamilah (Hashim),” he told DayakDaily when contacted.
“There are special allocations to upgrade all fire safety features in hospitals. This is an ongoing process nationwide,” he explained.
Dr Lee said the Health Ministry will work closely with Bomba to look into the safety aspects in all public healthcare facilities throughout the country including SGH and the heart centre in Kota Samarahan.
“We will make sure the fire safety measures are in place along the upgrading works at hospitals in the country to ensure compliance with fire safety, including obtaining the FC,” he assured.
Sarawak Bomba director Khirudin Drahman revealed that there were 13 government buildings categorised under “designated building” in Sarawak, including Wisma Bapa Malaysia and Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, which did 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.
“As for hospitals, apparently not all are required to have FCs because of the size and location, especially those in the rural districts.
“Although they are not required to have FCs, they must comply with removal of fire hazards (MBK), which can cause untoward incidents,” Khirudin explained.
The fire certficiate was important because a thorough inspection would be conducted on the building’s 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, he added.
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. — DayakDaily