KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is taking the first step towards the drafting of a building code for earthquake-prone areas.
State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said senior ministry officers had met representatives of professional bodies, including engineers and surveyors.
“There will be more meetings and we are compiling the feedback from these professionals for submission to the state Cabinet,” he said.
Hajiji said Sabah would also seek the experiences of other countries like Japan and Taiwan before drafting regulations to ensure future buildings could withstand severe tremors.
“If necessary, our officers will visit these countries to see for themselves the building designs and technology involved,” he said.
On the Meteorological Services Department’s warning that the east coast Lahad Datu district was another possible hotspot for seismic activity, Hajiji said his ministry was aware of this.
Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said the authorities should be prepared to deal with potential earthquakes in Lahad Datu.
Che Gayah said the stress on the active faults had been building up.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah head of engineering programme Prof Dr Abdul Karim Mirasa said on Tuesday that existing multi-storey structures should be retrofitted with damping systems.
“I fear that if nothing is done we will have problems,” said Prof Abdul Karim, who was involved in the design of the damping system for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport control tower to enable it to withstand earthquakes.
He said the designs of most buildings did not take earthquakes into account as they had not been deemed a serious problem in the country.