Tahfiz building owner MAIWP called to explain safety lapse leading to fire

Nabihah Hamid

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng of DAP (left) and Amanah vice-president Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus (right) visit single mother Mashawani Mohamed Shahid, 37, who lost three sons in the tahfiz school fire tragedy. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, September 25, 2017.

TWO weeks after a fire in Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah in Kuala Lumpur killed 23 people, Amanah and DAP are demanding an explanation from the owner of the tahfiz building, reported to be the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP).

Amanah vice-president Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus said the safety of the building should not have been an issue if the owner was a government agency.

“From day one of the fire, Amanah has been at the site. We have said that any religious activity under the purview of the Islamic council, including the operation of registered religious schools, must follow regulations set by the Fire and Rescue Department and local council.

“For those unregistered, the government must monitor them,” he said today.

The September 14 fire, which broke out in the third and uppermost floor of the residential religious school in Kampung Datuk Keramat, killed 21 pupils and two wardens trapped in the dormitory.

The tahfiz school had said the three-storey building that housed the students belonged to MAIWP. The school management denied that there illegal renovations had been done to the building.

The school’s deputy principal, Roslan Awang Ali, in a New Straits Times report, said the building was under MAIWP after the original owner handed over the building to the religious body as an endowment (wakaf).

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar said the school had been operating without building approval from the local authorities.

Lawyer Zulhazmi Shariff from DAP slammed MAIWP over its silence.

“Until today, we have not heard from the council. With the school principal, we understand. But MAIWP is the building owner. It has to explain.

“As a government body, MAIWP should know about building safety.

“City Hall gave the construction and planning approvals. How were the approvals given without checks?” he said.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng of DAP said safety in schools would be a topic raised in the coming parliament sitting next month.

“We will raise this issue about tahfiz schools and regular schools and education institutions for the benefit of the families, school managements and students.

“We have seen many fires and we cannot just let this problem be,” he said.

The three were speaking to the media after they gave aid to single mother Mashawani Mohamed Shahid, 37, who lost three sons to the tahfiz school fire, at her sister’s home in Lembah TTDI, Taman Kosas in Ampang this morning. – September 25,  2017.

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