Do we wait for more people to die?

Sultanah-AminahBy TK Chua

After the fatal fire at Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Baru, suddenly the country is filled with a sense of urgency and wisdom.

There are calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), with many putting the blame on the maintenance contractors, the carelessness of healthcare workers, and the need for firemen to provide crash courses to hospitals, and so on.

All this is good, but don’t you think it is a little too late in the day?

I am not denying that accidents or mishaps do happen, but it is the frequency, the peculiarity and the fatalities involved that worries me. In broad daylight and during peak working hours, somehow an uncontrollable fire broke out claiming six lives in a hospital.

Are hospitals similar to factories manufacturing highly inflammable products?

The reality is Malaysia has increasingly become a “chin chai” country, we are totally unprofessional and lackadaisical in our work and attitude. We don’t care until a crisis hits us.

Right now, for example, Selangor is facing water woes. Our water catchment and riverine areas are increasingly being threatened by encroachment and irresponsible pollution. But do we have a sense of urgency to tackle this problem uncompromisingly?

The latest I heard is that the Selangor state government and the federal agencies are now willing to cooperate and work together to resolve the frequent contamination problems. But my question is, shouldn’t they be cooperating and be serious in their work from the very beginning.

Quality water is getting scarce and it is time we managed it jealously and professionally. I am asking the authorities (both state and federal) not to wait for a crisis before taking action.

Worse, I am not looking forward to an RCI to find out why a crisis has happened. By then, it is too late and useless.

There were already numerous other tell-tale signs before the fire in JB.

Did we not hear of mass food poisoning in schools and universities, rats and other pests in malls and eateries, a crane hook dropping from the sky, a stadium roof collapsing, water pipes bursting and lifts plummeting?

What do we do with all these telltale signs? Do we wait for more people to die?

By the way, as I drive under the newly-completed MRT stations along Jalan Damansara, I notice the numerous ceiling boards (not sure if these are boards or tiles) above me.

I hope the engineers and contractors were diligent in their work. It would not be a joke if one of these boards (or tiles) fall on a vehicle below.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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