KUALA LUMPUR: The management of a tahfiz school involved in a deadly fire in Kampung Datuk Keramat today have rejected claims that it had illegally renovated the building, which led to the blaze.
Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz school (DQIT) deputy principal Roslan Awang Ali also said the building was only being used as a temporary facility.
Speaking to the New Straits Times, Roslan said the school began occupying the three-storey building at Jalan Keramat Hujung about seven months ago to allow renovation works on their permanent complex, located not far from the present structure.
He said the school management did not conduct any structural renovation on the current building. He said they did not build any illegal partitions at the third floor, which the authorities claimed had prevented the victims from escaping.
“The building was built by its original owner, who then surrendered it to the Federal Territory Religious Department (MAIWP) as a waqf (donation).
“MAIWP had given us permission to utilise this building for tahfiz activities, and when we needed to find someplace else while our complex is being renovated, our school used it as our temporary premises.
“The only renovation we did was to install an awning at the front entrance," Roslan said.
He was responding to a statement by the authorities that the building had undergone illegal structural renovation, which they suspected had caused the building to become a ‘deathtrap’.
Roslan said the school had a total of 45 students, many of whom are orphans, who hailed from around the country, but mostly from Kelantan.
Roslan, a religious teacher, when asked about the students, spoke fondly of them. He described them as “very well-mannered and good students with high discipline.”
"We (the teachers) regarded the students like our own children. Many of them were also orphans who came here to study about religion. We were very close with each other.
“I can never forget those memories. We spent most of our time together. Every Thursday evening, we would take them for Yaasin recital programmes, we also celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha together."
Roslan said most of the victims would be buried in the Klang Valley, as per their discussion with families and the MAIWP management.
He said 11 of the students would be buried at the Darul Sakinah Cemetery in Gombak, several others in Ampang and Keramat, while the rest might be brought by their families to be buried at their respective hometowns.