Safety, security our top priority, assures mall’s managing director

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 5: CityOne Megamall managing director Stephen Long has assured the public that the safety and security of the mall remains a top priority and will continue to work through the deadly explosion episode.

“We are heartbroken with what has happened, which claimed the lives of three people and injured many others, including our colleagues and staff,” he told reporters covering follow-up inspections by various authorities at the mall today.

While still waiting for a full report on the explosion, Long stressed that the mall’s management had and would never take safety and security issues lightly.

“We are serious and committed to ensuring the safety and security of the mall. As for now, we will take care of the welfare of our staff warded at the hospital as well as provide assistance to other victims and their families, including that of the deceased,” he assured.

As safety concerns still exist, Long stressed that the area would remain restricted until it is deemed safe by the authorities.

“CityOne Megamall will remain closed until further notice. We hope it will be opened soon, but the safety of the area is our highest priority. The most important thing now is the welfare of the victims and their families as well as that of the deceased,” he reiterated.

Long explained that employees of the mall, including his wife, Sim Ewe Kee, son Jonathan Long and son-in-law Johnny Lau, were carrying out final touches at NeNe Chicken restaurant for its opening today when the blast took place.

“The staff were getting ready the food, drinks and utensils for today’s opening. They have been training hard, and were so excited to serve today and yet one explosion changed everything.

“During the explosion, my wife and son were inside while my son-in-law was in the kitchen. He is now in the hospital with 20 per cent burns. My wife was hit on the neck by a falling steel shutter,” he added.

In the meantime, Long appealed to the media to sympathise and respect the privacy of the families of the victims involved as well as the deceased.

“When I visited our colleagues and staff at the hospital, it made me cry looking at their burns and injuries. It was so depressing.

“We grieve together with the families who have lost their loved ones. This is something that we don’t want to see. We hope for support as well as for the victims so that we can move on with life,” he added. — DayakDaily