Nga orders Fire and Rescue Dept to inspect fire hydrants nationwide

IPOH: The Local Government and Development Ministry has instructed the Fire and Rescue Department to inspect fire hydrants nationwide to ensure they function during emergencies.

Minister Nga Kor Ming said Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Nor Hisham Mohammad had been instructed to order all 377 Fire and Rescue Stations nationwide to inspect the more than 410,000 fire hydrants in the country.

He said 351,000 fire hydrants belonged to the government, while another 65,000 were privately owned.

"The Fire and Rescue Stations have carried out scheduled inspections of fire hydrants, however, the effort will be intensified to ensure that the fire hydrants function properly, including having the right water pressure.

"Yesterday, a temple in Sungai Petani, Kedah, caught fire and the day before, a fire at a grocery store in Ayer Tawar, Manjung, in Perak took the life of its 90-year-old owner.

"Hence, it is important for the authorities to take precautions," he said today after inspecting the fire damage at Pasar Awam Pasir Puteh in Taman Pasir Pinji here.

Present were Ipoh Timor member of parliament Howard Lee, Pasir Pinji assemblyman Goh See Hua and Ipoh City Council secretary Ahmad Munir Ishak.

The market, with a floor area of 2782.1 square feet, caught fire at 12.21am today, destroying around 70 market stalls.

Nga said each trader affected by the fire would receive RM1,500 in aid.

Nga, who is also Teluk Intan MP, said he had requested the city council to submit a report, alongside a proposal for the reconstruction of the market, adding that the reconstruction would be fast-tracked.

"As to when and where the reconstruction of the market can take place, I will wait for the report from the city council and will make an announcement.

"We will find a way to rebuild the market so that the market, which is full of nostalgia, can be revived."

When asked about claims that the increase in fires in the country recently was due to the government lifting a ban on firecrackers and fireworks in February last year, Nga urged the public to not speculate on the matter.

"We (the ministry) are also waiting for the report from the Fire and Rescue Department on the cause of the fire at the market.

"I also urge the reporters to not speculate as we are now waiting for the department's K9 unit to identify the cause of the fire."

Last year, the Cabinet lifted a ban on fireworks and firecrackers to put a halt to the smuggling of these items.

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