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All Schools Must Be Safe For Students, Says DPM

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PUTRAJAYA - All schools must adhere to high safety standards to protect students from harm, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said there would be greater emphasis on safety standards, including conditions at tahfiz schools.

“Schools should also have procedures in place for quick responses during emergencies.

“I cannot emphasise this enough. Management and school authorities need to be committed to this and invest in keeping their premises safe,” he said when opening the Conference on Occupational Safety and Health 2017 here yesterday.

He added that the views of experts from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) would also be sought in investigations into the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz fire.

The task force, headed by Dr Ahmad Zahid himself, will meet today.

The pre-dawn fire on Sept 14 claimed the lives of 21 students and two teachers at the religious school in Jalan Datuk Keramat in Kuala Lumpur.

Police said the incident was a revenge arson attack.

Seven youths, aged between 11 and 18, were arrested in connection with the incident.

Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said his recommendations would be for schools to have safety audits and for compulsory annual inspection on buildings that were over two decades old.

Niosh had also started an “OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) in School” programme to train teachers in identifying risks and hazards at their premises and pass on the knowledge to their students, he added.

To date, more than 50 schools had taken part in the programme.

In Kuala Lumpur, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) had been instructed to conduct free inspections on the wiring systems of tahfiz near their centres to detect and remove fire hazards.

He said about 100 tahfiz nationwide were close to IKBN locations and would be eligible for the free inspection services.

“The ministry has ordered IKBN students and graduates with experience and training in electrical skills to provide the free service,” he added.

-THE STAR