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Strict enforcement needed on fire safety

Strict enforcement needed on fire safety
The inferno at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school was the country's biggest fire catastrophe since almost exactly 28 years ago. -File photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Another tragedy at an Islamic residential school and the usual blame game is going on with many fingers pointing as to why or how it happened.

And, as usual too, another special investigation committee will be formed to probe the tragedy in which 21 young boys and two wardens perished in an early morning fire here yesterday.

It was the country's biggest fire catastrophe since 27 students were burnt to death almost exactly 28 years ago at another religious residential school in Yan, Kedah.

There have been so many repeated cases at similar premises over the years that it does not make any sense that the school authorities seem not bothered at all in as far as taking preventive measures are concerned.
Since 2011 alone, at least 31 of such incidents and tragedies have occurred and even these are not enough to jolt the school authorities and, equally importantly, the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) to think out of the box to fix the problem as a matter of priority.

It's the lives of so many children being placed in their care by parents whom we are talking about here and with the mushrooming of such schools throughout the country, things can very well get worse before they get any better.

We certainly don't need to spend time and money to conduct another exhaustive investigation because it's not rocket science.

All that the Bomba need to do is to carry the same kind of strict enforcement on fire safety in Tahfiz schools as it does on other premises according to its laws and regulations.

Why not?

In other words, there shouldn't be double standards in enforcement because it's human lives we are talking about here.

In fact, such premises, many of which are reportedly not registered or are run by individual religious scholars, should come under even stricter enforcement given the fact that they have so many boarding students.


* Datuk Seri Azman Ujang is the Chairman of Bernama

** The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.