Fire certificates for MOH facilities vital

The blaze destroyed medical supplies in the clinic’s storeroom.

KUCHING: Last Sunday’s (Oct 3) fire at the Jalan Masjid Health Clinic here, which destroyed more than 80 percent of medical supplies and 40 percent of the building, should not be looked upon as an isolated case although there was no casualty.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who stated this, pointed out that there had been fire breakouts in other Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities in the country including the deadly fire at Hospital Sultan Aminah, Johor, which took six lives.

“On top of that, it is said that there are more government facilities including hospitals like the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), Pusat Jantung Sarawak and Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor that have yet to obtain a fire safety certificate,” he said in a Facebook post yesterday (Oct 4).

Dr Yii said under the Fire Services Act 1988, there were nine categories of premises that must have such fire certificates (FCs) including hospitals, hotels, libraries, offices, shops, assembly halls, storage areas, hostels and factories.

“The FC is important because the fire department will conduct a thorough inspection of the building’s fire safety system, such as fire alarm equipment, fire extinguishers and fire exits. This is to ensure that they can be used in the event of a fire.

“That is why it is important such health facilities must have the required FCs to ensure the safety of all patients and even staff, especially during this pandemic when the hospitals are often congested with patients,” he said.

In view of this issue, Dr Yii revealed that he had submitted a motion under Standing Order 18 (1) to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s office yesterday (Oct 4) to compel an answer from the MOH regarding fire safety measures in all its premises including hospitals and government clinics in the country.

“That is why I pushed for this issue to be properly debated and to get answer from the ministry on three main items, namely, the government’s immediate response to help the Jalan Masjid Health Clinic; how many government-owned, managed, leased and linked buildings do not have a FC, and how many do have a Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) and what is the government doing to strengthen fire safety measures in all hospitals and clinics in Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Yii said that now that hospitals were packed due to Covid-19, it was even more important to ensure they were safe.

“This is so that we do not put them in ‘flammable death traps’ all around the country. The government must prioritise and even care for the health and safety aspect of their own civil service and patients during this time.

“That is why I urge the government to have a policy at all levels to ensure that all its buildings, assets and halls are checked regularly and have the necessary certificates,” he said.