Malaysia's private religious schools face regulation pressure after deadly fire

by Abel Hampton September 16, 2017, 0:37
Malaysia's private religious schools face regulation pressure after deadly fire

At least 23 people, majority students, were killed in a fire that tore through a religious school in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

Fuzi said police would wait for post-mortem reports as well as the fire department's forensics report on the pre-dawn blaze, which ripped through the top floor of the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah private boarding school in Datuk Keramat.

Two wardens sleeping in the room woke up when the fire broke out and tried to rescue students, but, said Muhammad, they perished with the others.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and the fire was out within an hour but it wreaked bad devastation. Police later revised down the death toll to 22 students and two teachers.

The school involved in Thursday's fire was a tahfiz, where Muslim Malaysians send their children to study the Quran, and officials say it did not have the necessary operating licences, including a fire safety permit. It identified the building as Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, in Kuala Lumpur. Some witnesses said they had heard the students crying for help after the fire broke out.

"We want to solve this as fast as possible, because everyone wants to know what caused the fire", he said.

Loga Bala Mohan, the government's federal territories deputy minister, said: "We sympathise with the families".

According to AFP, one of the survivors said two cylinders were left by the dormitory door and had caught fire, preventing those inside from leaving. "Every one of the bodies were discovered lumped on each other".

"If the fire was caused by mischief, then it would be considered a crime which falls under the police's jurisdiction". "The pupils got locked in and they couldn't escape and got burnt", said Nadia Azalan, sister of a 13-year-old victim. The school also do not have any licence from the local religious authorities.

Officials called it one of the country's worst fire disasters for years.

They are unregulated by the education ministry, being the responsibility of the religious department.

Mohd Arif Awardi, a staff member of the tahfiz school, who managed to escape from the fire, told Xinhua at the scene that he has not received any fire safety training after he began to work at the school several months ago.

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