90pc of buildings probed not meeting fire safety standards

Azlan Othman

Inspections by personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) revealed that a number of government and private buildings failed to implement the Fire and Safety Order 2016, Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong said.

He was responding to Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman who asked what steps have been taken against government and private building owners who have failed the fire safety examinations.

“I understand that the government has over 5,000 building assets. Based on statistics from 2017 to 2020, fire safety inspections were conducted on 179 government buildings. Of the 85 government buildings inspected, 90 per cent failed. This included the Legislative Council building,” she said during the sixth day of the 17th Legislative Council meeting yesterday.

“Fourteen inspections were conducted on health clinics and centres of which 93 per cent failed while 23 inspections carried on mosques, suraus and religious halls found 96 per cent of them. Meanwhile, 66 per cent of the 55 public schools inspected failed,” he said.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty requested the authorities to disseminate more information on inspections and enforcement of the law while stressing the importance of safety not only in the private sector but also among the ministries.

Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

“Government buildings should set an example by abiding by government standards,” she said.

“Normally, after an inspection, discussions are held with department or building owners to ensure they abide by the Fire and Safety Order 2016. Sometimes, the issues may be minute, but it still fails to meet the criteria of the Order. Among them are placing boxes near a hose reel to extinguish fire or items blocking the use of hose reels. All government and private agencies should take steps to uphold safety by following the Fire and Safety Order 2016,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, on emergency response in under 10 minutes, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said there was an increase in shorter response time to 79 per cent in urban areas in 2019 and 85.54 per cent in 2020.

The FRD strived to meet the key performance indicators (KPI) such as the target of 80 per cent in urban areas.

“But we achieved 85 per cent instead. We hope to increase the target not only in urban areas but also in sub-urban (in 15 minutes) and rural (20 minutes) zones.”

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty said under the national development plan, the emergency response system has been allocated some BND2.6 million. “I hope this system could reach 82 per cent in terms of emergency response in less than 10 minutes.”

Meanwhile, on exempting the basic fitness test for fire and rescue personnel on medical board, as raised by Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Ali bin Pengiran Maon, the minister urged the personnel to take the matter to their department to schedule for an alternative fitness test or to receive exemption.