Call on Zahid to immediately head a task force to prevent any more tahfiz school fires and present a White Paper to Parliament when it meets on Oct. 23 on the result of checks on all tahfiz schools in the country

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should not just chair the task force on the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz schools fire which resulted in the death of 24 people yesterday, his task force should be expanded in scope and terms of reference to ensure that there will be no more tahfiz school fires in the country.

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his upset that no lessons had been learnt from a tahfiz school fire in Kedah in 1989, which killed 27 people.

He recalled that in the fire at a tahfiz school dormitory in 1989, 27 female students died. The fire also totally gutted the school and eight wooden hostels.

Zahid’s task force on tahfiz fire should also probe into why no lesson had been learnt from the fire in Kedah in 1989, which claimed 27 lives, as well as other tahfiz fires.

Since 2015, 211 fires have been reported to be broken out at the private religious schools. Shouldn’t there be more outrage at such rampant fire risks and disregard of safety issues?

Tan Sri Noh Omar, the Minister for Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government, has sadly and shockingly shown that he is not serious or suitable for the Ministerial responsibility to ensure that the Fire and Rescue Department identify all schools and premises at risk of fire and to take the necessary safety measures.

Noh Omar should be sacked as Minister for Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government for he has no understanding of “urban well-being” whatsoever, or at minimum, he should be switched to another Ministry where his Ministerial negligence or irresponsibility would not cause the loss of so many human lives or so much human suffering.

With the tragedies of so many tahfiz fires in the country, the government cannot but be firm to ensure that there will be no repetition of such tragedies in the future and not to allow any misconceived ideas to justify such criminal negligence or misconduct.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah