‘Apply for Fire Certificates before it’s too late’


SIBU: Certain budget hotels here do not have Fire Certificates (FC) as they are operating on rented premises, according to Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee.

He suggested yesterday that it was necessary for operators to submit a fresh building plan to the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) for approval.

“I think because of the process and certain complications which the operators cannot resolve, they are rather reluctant to apply for FC.

“FC will only be issued after the building plan has been approved. It is advisable for them to approach Bomba to seek their advice to resolve the problem,” Wong said, commenting on a news report that 31 premises here still did not have the certificate.

The report stated that the department would take action against those premises not complying as ample time had been given to apply for FC.

Wong said among the requirements for operators to be issued with FC was the need to have fire doors.

“Those that have above 50 rooms need to have a sprinkler system while above 25 rooms, a fire detector is required.”

Advising association members who have yet to apply for FC, Wong urged them to do so as soon as possible to avoid getting into trouble.

Wong welcomed members to contact him or approach Bomba if they were uncertain about the application process.

He mentioned that all star-rated hotels had FC.

With the sprouting of room-for-rent premises, he hoped the same regulations could be imposed on their operators.

“If the premises are meant as a ‘lodging house’, they must be subject to the same requirement; the need for FC,” he said.

When contacted, Sibu Bomba Zone chief Abdul Mutalib Rashid disclosed that budget hotels here were among the 31 premises yet to have FC.

“We hope that these operators will take the initiative to apply for FC before the authorities come down on them. We are always ready to assist and guide them.

“Among the merits of having FC is that it will boost the confidence of their customers in terms of fire safety,” he said.

Meanwhile, asked if the room rate would include Goods and Services Tax (GST), Wong said only those whose annual sales turnover exceeded RM500,000 would be eligible for the tax system.

He warned that collecting six per cent from their customers if the business was not eligible for GST was an offence.

Towards this end, he praised the government for good healthcare facilities and benefits provided for the people.

Such benefits, he added, could not be found in any other country.

Hence, he said it was important for education and medicine to be exempted from GST.