SIBU: The Fire and Rescue Department is asking for a review of the 1994 By-Law which currently allows the conversion of shophouses into room-for-rent type of accommodation.
Central Zone Fire and Rescue chief Supt Abdul Mutalib Rashid said the review of the by-law was necessary to prevent the mushrooming of such accommodation.
“People are building partitions in shophouses to turn them into room-for-rent accommodation as it is not against the existing by-law.
“But it is not allowed under the Fire and Rescue Act,” he told reporters at his Hari Raya open house yesterday.
Supt Abdul Mutalib said the department could issue a notice to the operator of such accommodation but on the other hand, it is powerless to stop them from operating since the by-law permits such changes to be made.
He said it was the same for owners of shophouses who convert the upper floor into dwelling places.
“They will apply for a licence, saying it is for business purposes but once they get the licence, they will convert the unit into a residential place,” he added.
Separately, Mutalib, who is from Negri Sembilan, said this would be his last Hari Raya in Sibu as he would be retiring end of this year.
“I have been here for the last 11 years and will be leaving end of this year,” he added.
Among those who visited him were Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Dr Hii Sui Cheng and Sibu Resident Hii Chang Kee.