KUCHING: Buildings which are deemed to possess high risk of fire are required to obtain or renew their fire certificates (FCs) yearly in compliance with the Fire Services Act 1988, said Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid.
Hamdan said there were 583 buildings in the state that had been identified as having such a risk and most of them had their FCs approved.
“In Sarawak, 583 building have been designated as having high fire risk. FCs have been approved and issued to most of these buildings, which are mostly hotels and shopping complexes.
“Be reminded that if these buildings do not comply with the existing fire safety law, they will be charged with certain penalties.
“At first, we will not take direct actions as we are still providing them advice with regards to the aspects of fire safety in the buildings.
“However, if non-compliance by these buildings persists, we will take necessary actions accordingly, which will lead to prosecution in the court,” he told reporters during the Majlis Ramah Tamah Aidilfitri dan Gawai Dayak dinner at Bomba headquarters in Jalan Setia Raja here last night.
He further remarked that penalties imposed to non-compliant owners of the buildings would be increased after amendments were made to the Fire Services Act in order to safeguard public’s safety.
“After the law has been amended, the penalty per offence will be increased from RM3,000 per offence to RM5,000. Aside from the that, the owners of the buildings are also liable to a three-year imprisonment, or both.
“This is done to protect the lives of people who are actually occupying, visiting and doing work in that building to make sure public liability on the users or occupants of the buildings are well protected under the law.
“We are looking into this issue very seriously as the value of lives lost during a fire cannot be compared to monetary compensations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hamdan said the number of fire cases in the state had been reduced compared to the previous years, but remarked that Bomba would not lax over this.
“We will not lax over the fact that there is significant reduce over the number of cases because we are still holding on to our response time in our service to the people as well as our responsibility as a main agency to keep the buildings safe.”
Also present during the function were state Bomba director Khiruddin Drahman and other dignitaries. The ‘ngiling bidai’ was also held to mark the end of Gawai celebration.
A prize giving ceremony was also held to commemorate the best stalls that was set up at the dinner.