PUTRAJAYA: Cabinet has issued a directive that all old government buildings are to undergo safety inspections.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said while these buildings were still structurally strong and usable, the safety features of the buildings still have to be inspected and approved by the Public Works Department (PWD) and Fire and Rescue Department.
"For this ministry, we have 48 buildings that are more than 50 years old which need to be checked as they are in use as hospitals, clinics and research institutes,” said Subramaniam after a Cabinet meeting on Friday.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was briefed on the old buildings that were still in use as schools, hospitals and offices.
On the buildings in use by the Health Ministry, Subramaniam said that the Ministry would be working with the PWD and Fire and Rescue Department to see if the buildings can still be used.
Subramaniam added that the Health Ministry and hospital authorities would follow the advice from experts, even if it meant stopping operations at the old buildings.
“The safety of patients, visitors, doctors and staff is of paramount importance. If we are told that it is not safe to use the facility, we will abide by the advice,” he said.
Subramaniam added that the fire audit for government hospitals is expected to start in two weeks and said that the Ministry is also waiting for the Fire and Rescue Department to submit a report on Tuesday’s fire at Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johor Baru.
He said that the report would be presented to Cabinet.
The fire, which broke out at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit killed six people warded at the south wing on the second floor of the five-storey building.
It also caused the evacuation of patients and staff.