`Our losses are nothing compared to those who have lost their loved ones’

A file photo of Bomba and Civil Defence Force officers checking the rubble and debris from the explosion site inside CityONE Megamall.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Dec 7: CityONE Megamall’s owner and operator Stephen Long and his management staff met with the tenants and landlords of the mall at 11am today to update them on the latest development, including reopening the mall to the public.

The mall has been closed since Tuesday’s blast, creating anxieties among the tenants and landlords.

The meeting started with Long asking those present to observe a minute of silence to remember the three individuals who were killed in the explosion on Tuesday.

“This was an incident no one ever wanted to happen and no one imagined would happen, but it happened right here. I am very aware of your concerns, your frustrations and your losses, but I hope you also understand that our losses are nothing compared to those who have lost their loved ones,” said Long in a statement today.

The Fire and Rescue (Bomba) Department and forensics team from Putrajaya have completed their investigations and a team of certified structural engineering consultants are still combing the mall to ensure the building is fit to be re-opened to the public.

As of 11am today, it is confirmed that the main switch, air-conditioning system and electrical components are working well.

The tenants were allowed to enter the premises to inspect their shops at 2pm.

“I hope that you will take the higher road, and in good spirit, journey with me through this very dark episode in the history of CityONE. The blast was by no means a small matter. It took away three precious lives and brought our respective businesses to a grinding halt,” Long said.

The mall has been handed over to Bomba, the forensics team and the police since the incident and is awaiting approval from the relevant authorities before it can reopen.

“We have been putting in all our resources around the clock and working closely with the authorities to get the mall back into action,” added Long, who is confident that operations would be back to normal within the next few days.

He appealed to the tenants, landlords and shoppers to be patient “because safety is of utmost importance”.

“I promise you that I will stand with you if you stand with me and journey with me as CityONE family to turn this tragic episode into a positive turning point that we will all look back on and be proud of,” said Long.

CityONE has also designated a special area in front of the main entrance for citizens to pay their last respects in memory of those who perished in the blast. Candles are not encouraged for safety reasons. — DayakDaily