Doubts over safety of tahfiz school’s new turf

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The electric pole sticking out through a roof of the building.

KUALA LUMPUR: Municipal and fire authorities have been urged to inspect a building in Keramat to which the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school plans to relocate following a fire two weeks ago that destroyed its premises and killed 21 students and two teachers.

Massive renovations have been done to the building that may be in violation of safety regulations, according to Rizal Imran, who resides in an apartment in the area.

Rizal claimed he was speaking for the residents of the Pangsapuri Bukit Baru apartments. He used to be the secretary of the residents’ association and president of its youth club.

He said the renovated building used to be an ordinary bungalow. Renovations that began at the beginning of the year had made it much bigger, he added.

“It now takes up almost half of the only road that more than 1,000 apartment residents use. The tahfiz students and teachers will also have to use this road to exit if anything happens.”

The apartment block is located in a cul-de-sac.

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Rizal said the road would be full of parked cars after working hours, making it impossible for a fire engine to gain access to the area.

“This is cause for concern. We are worried about the safety of the residents and also the tahfiz school occupants.”

He said it was imperative for the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council and the Fire and Rescue Department to conduct checks on the building.

He pointed to an electric pole sticking out through a roof of the building and questioned whether the renovation had indeed adhered to safety guidelines.

He also noted that a restaurant had started operations on the ground floor and the cooking was carried out right beside the electric pole.

Rizal said he was speaking out of concern for “everyone’s safety”.

FMT brought Rizal’s concerns to the attention of school headmaster Muhammad Zahid Mahmood.

Zahid rejected the suggestion that a fire engine would have difficulty entering the area.

“There’s no problem here besides parking,” he said, adding that the school had asked the fire department to ensure all issues of safety were addressed.

“We can actually move in already, but we’ve asked the fire department to ensure 100% of the standard procedures are followed, including the installation of fire alarms, fire hoses and everything else.”

According to Zahid, the fire department said the building would be ready for occupation once the local council and the Public Works Department had given their approval.

“The earliest we can move in is within three to four months, while the latest will be early next year,” he said. “In the meantime, we will find a different place for the students to study.”

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