: The religious residential school in Keramat here which was razed early today did not have an occupation certificate (OC) and had been renovated, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar.
He said the Fire and Rescue Department received an application for the certificate from Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school at Jalan Keramat Ujung last month but had yet to give an approval.
"The original plan of the building is based on Open Concept, but had been built walls and did not adhere to the original plan.
"The building has not been given approval by the department to operate," the minister told reporters after visiting the scene here today.
The fire killed 21 students and two wardens. READ: Short-circuit believed to be cause of fire at tahfiz centre READ: DNA tests conducted to identify victims - Dr Subamaniam
Meanwhile, Noh said 29 cases of fire over the last two years involved tahfiz schools in the country.
"Most of the buildings did not follow specifications," he said.
He said the tahfiz school operators should learn from today's incident and to always prioritise the safety of their students.
He said the operators may seek the ministry's views and advice in regard to any adjustments they wanted to carry out on their premises to ensure that they complied with regulations.
Fire and Rescue director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim said the department received the design plan for the school building in 2015 and had given its views on the necessary safety features.
"The design plan was okay. There were two staircases and was an open concept hostel," he said.
He said the school's operator should have submitted the mechanical and engineering plan for approval by the department before constructing the building.
"Upon completion, the department must be called to conduct an inspection to ensure that the recommended safety features are in place. But in this case, the building was completed and occupied even though it had not been inspected and did not have the mechanical and engineering plan approval.
"Aside from that they also made internal renovation by adding partitions and closing one access," he said.
He said the beds were arranged too closely together and made it complicated for the victims to save themselves. -- BERNAMA