No terror or criminal element in Kuching's Cityone Megamall explosion, say cops

KUCHING: The explosion at Cityone Megamall here on Tuesday (Dec 4) is not linked to terrorism, says Sarawak Deputy Commissioner of Police DCP Datuk Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim.

He said police investigations so far have found no militant elements in the incident.

"There are also no criminal elements involved," he told reporters at the scene of the blast on Wednesday (Dec 5).

DCP Dzuraidi said police had classified the case of the three men who died in the incident as a sudden death and added that the cause of the explosion was still being investigated by the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba).

State Bomba director Khirudin Drahman said the department's personnel - including a forensic dog from the K9 unit - were investigating the scene to verify the initial assumption that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

"We have taken gas samples from the scene to be tested in our lab.

Stephen Long, director of Cityone developer Kenbest Sdn Bhd - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / THE STAR

"From the pattern of the explosion that we saw on a CCTV video as well as the victims' injuries, it seems to confirm our initial findings and hypothesis," he said.

State DOSH director Dr Nor Halim Hasan added that the department would carry out its own investigation based on the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 and the Factories and Machinery Act 1974.

"Our officers in Kuching will investigate to see if the (safety) laws were complied with," he said.

Stephen Long, the director of Cityone developer Kenbest Sdn Bhd, said he was deeply saddened by the incident which claimed three lives and injured 41 others.

"We grieve with the families who lost their loved ones. What I can do now is to take care of the welfare of our colleagues and staff in hospital.

"I will give my assistance and support, emotionally and also financially, to those in hospital and the families of the deceased," he said.

Long said his wife Sim Ewe Kee, son Jonathan and son-in-law Johnny Lau were supervising the renovation work at a food outlet ahead of its scheduled opening today (Dec 5) when the explosion happened.

He said Lau, who was in the kitchen, suffered 20% burns and is currently warded at the Sarawak General Hospital while Sim was hit by a falling steel structure but discharged from hospital on Tuesday itself (Dec 4).

"Safety at Cityone is always our priority. We are serious about safety, that's why our family members were also inside (the food outlet)," Long said, adding that the mall would remain closed until further notice.

"We will wait for clearance from the relevant authorities," he said.

Cityone Megamall , Explosion