Did we put COVID-19 patients in flammable death traps?

Here’s a question.

We are now living in the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period. We have had three months of safety briefings and daily updates from the Director General of our Ministry of Health, telling us to constantly wash our hands, take care of our personal hygiene, and even to avoid confined and closed spaces.

And then it turns out, one our own hospitals are lacking safety certifications after six fires?

Healthcare news site CodeBlue highlighted recently that in spite of six fires throughout its history, even with a fire that killed six people in 2016, and another fire just last week, the Sultanah Aminah Hospital still lacks a Fire Certificate.

Bear in mind, this is a hospital that has a history dating back to 1882, which was last upgraded in 2009 to the cost of RM267 million. And yet, it doesn’t have a Fire Certificate?

On top of this, it seems that the hospital is not the only government run facility to have such an issue. In 2018, KL Sports City was also said to not have had a fire certificate by the Auditor General’s report, which it then acquired post haste by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

And who could forget the stadium roof collapsing in 2015 in Terengganu because specifications weren’t adhered to.

With parliament reopening soon, perhaps an MP would like to ask this government – how many government owned, managed, leased and linked buildings do not have a Fire Certificate, and how many do not even have a Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC)?

So, when we shoved all those COVID-19 patients into hospitals, just how many of these hospitals were without Fire Certificates?

What I understand from this is that not only are doctors and nurses underpaid, having to fight for their right to get an allowance during the MCO and overworked – it seems that they might even be working in a flammable death trap.

Sarcastically, why not just shut it down on the weekends and make it into an escape room and use it as a fundraiser to get a Fire Certificate?

It will be a great irony if this happened to include any building of the authorities and armed forces. It is bad enough they put their lives on the line for Malaysians, seems even worse if it suddenly meant they were unsafe even when resting in their government provided or subsidised homes.

We have to ask ourselves, how is it that we have a government that doesn’t even care for the health and safety aspect of their own civil service?

How many other buildings are currently filled to the brim with office workers and the general public without the proper certifications that could trigger negligence lawsuits should something untoward happens during a public event at such venues?

What is certain here is that there is a lax in government – both current and past – safety standards and compliance that should not occur, especially in this day and age. As such, maybe it should become government policy on all levels to buck up and ensure that all their buildings, assets, and halls are in fact checked regularly and have the necessary certificates?

After all, don’t all companies do a safety audit to ensure their staff work in a safe environment? With government employing 1.6 million people in the civil service, it should at least ensure that their facilities are up to the safety and health codes.

Growing up, we are constantly told that the fish rots in the head, now we can see that it certainly does. We are told that our country has first class facilities with a third class mentality of abusing these, well now it seems that the abuse is also happening by government itself for not keeping current on safety codes.

So, with this current government in power which locked us all in our homes to flatten the curve for our own safety – perhaps it is time to ensure your buildings are equally safe.

So please, take the same interest in health and safety as you did dealing with the pandemic, to secure your buildings.

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