PETALING JAYA: After a fire killed 21 students and two teachers and injured eight others at a tahfiz centre in 2017, donations amounting to at least RM8 million poured in for the grief-stricken family members.
However, the father of one of the victims claims the beneficiaries have yet to see a single sen, and that the centre’s management has not been transparent.
“The parents have not even received a single sen of the public contributions,” said Zamzuri Zakaria.
His son, Mohammad Aidil Aqmal, 10, was one of those who died in the fire at the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah at Dato Keramat in Kuala Lumpur five years ago.
When the donations failed to reach the families, the parents of the 31 students and teachers who either died or were injured sued the centre’s principal, his wife and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP). The matter is ongoing in court.
Questioning why the centre has yet to apologise for the incident, Zamzuri called for more clarity on the role of MAIWP and the school’s management in relation to public contributions collected for the victims’ next of kin, said to be between RM8 million and RM10 million.
Contacted by FMT, the lawyer for the principal and his wife said a statement would be issued in due course.
‘It’s not your son who’s inside’
Recalling the September 2017 fire, which happened in the early hours of the morning, Zamzuri said he was on his way to buy his wife some food when he saw thick smoke coming from the centre.
He rushed to the building but was unable to save his son.
“I managed to reach the top floor and I kept going up and down calling out my son’s name, but all I heard were explosions,” he said.
“Someone who was going past me held me and told me to go down. I was angry and I told him ‘It’s not your son, it’s my son. It’s my son who’s inside’.”
Eventually, Zamzuri said he had to accept reality.
“I slumped by a wall, there was nothing I could do. I called my wife and told her our son was gone,” he said, adding that just the day earlier, he had visited Aidil to bring him some kuih.
He said his son hugged him and his wife before they left. Today, Zamzuri and his wife only have memories of their beloved son to help them battle their grief.