Zahid: Culprits will pay if tahfiz centre fire is sabotage

Sep 16, 2017
The fire at the tahfiz centre caused 23 deaths. MO photo by Azrol Ali

BAGAN DATUK: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has given his assurance that no party will go scot free if there exists elements of crime in the fire tragedy at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz centre recently.

He stressed that if elements of treachery existed in the incident, firm action awaited the offenders.

Currently, he said the Forensic Department and the CID of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) were scrutinising the closed circuit television recording to seek evidence.

“God willing, if there is a perpetrator of the crime, or anybody behind it, he or she will never ever escape legal action.

“Although, maybe our opinions or views differ or we have certain interests, there is no boundary of humanity on the issue of human lives. We should not use the lives of the children as an item of differences if we differ in opinions,” he said.

He said this at a media conference after launching the 2017 National Level Community College Staff Dental Health Programme “Transformation With 1Smile Together’ (TW1ST) at Sekolah Menengah Sains Bagan Datuk today.

On Tuesday, the government would hold a special meeting to be chaired by Ahmad Zahid to look at the security of all tahfiz centres nationwide following the fire at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre in Jalan Keramat Ujung here where 23 lives were lost early on Thursday morning.

Commenting further, Ahmad Zahid said he had listed ministers, ministries’ secretaries-general and directors-general of departments and agencies to hold a discussion towards finding the best solution.

He also reiterated the stand of the government against taking over and interfering in the administrative affairs of tahfiz centres and private religious schools.

But, he said the owners of tahfiz centres and private religious schools must register with the Malaysian Islamic Religious Development Department (Jakim) and Religious Department in their respective states so that monitoring could be made and aid extended.

“We have no intention of taking over or seizing the rights of the states but we aspire to conduct the best co-ordination for the people.

“Don’t worry that purportedly the religious department or Jakim will take over, there is no such intention because we want to help, Don’t let there be prejudice towards the co-ordination effort. It is no use crying over spilled milk,” he said.

He also reminded the public against speculation and uploading (video) recordings of the fire at the tahfiz centre on the social media as it would disturb investigation.

In Kuala Lumpur, a team of six investigating officers from Bukit Aman were seen entering the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz Centre in Jalan Keramat Ujung at approximately at 1.30pm today.

They seemed to be inspecting the scene of the fire and taking pictures of the razed building from various angles and its surrounding area.

They were there for about 20 minutes.

The tragedy that claimed 23 lives in the fire at 5.15am on Thursday received wide coverage in the media as well as became a priority of the authorities following allegations of foul play.

To date, the cause of the fire is still a question mark after the Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department’s investigation confirmed the fire was not caused by a short circuit. –Bernama