KUALA LUMPUR: A special meeting will be held on Tuesday to discuss issues related to the safety of all maahad tahfiz schools in the country following the tragic fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Religious Residential Centre in Jalan Keramat Ujung which claimed the lives of 21 students and two teachers-cum wardens.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the meeting would be chaired by deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“I was informed that there are maahad tahfiz (religious residential schools) that followed the fire and rescue department’s specification, there are also some registered with the Islamic Religious Council but do not follow the specifications set by the fire and rescue department.
“Whatever, the situation, we need to do a ‘stock taking’ on every tahfiz,” he told reporters after visiting the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Religious Residential Centre at Jalan Keramat Ujung yesterday.
Earlier, the Prime Minister who arrived with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had accompanied Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V to the centre where 21 students and two teachers-cum warden had perished in a fire that started at 5.15am on Thursday.
Najib described the tragedy as a sad incident that could have been avoided if there were no changes to the original plan that was approved by the fire and rescue department.
“When an additional wall was built, it resulted in only one fire exit but we will wait for an in-depth report from all the relevant authorities, including the police and fire and rescue department before coming to a conclusion,” said Najib who had only returned to the country after his visit to the United States and United Kingdom yesterday.
Najib said the ‘uztaz’ (religious teacher) from the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Religious Residential Centre and the students would perform religious rituals at his residence in Jalan Duta every Friday.
The Prime Minister said the government would offer assistance to the victims based on three categories – loss of lives, injury and trauma.
“I wish to announce that the government will offer aid and I will make a personal contribution,” he said.
Najib also rubbished claims that the government did not assist maahad tahfiz throughout the country.
He said this year alone RM30 million had been allocated to assist maahad tahfiz throughout the country. –Bernama