Fire sheds light on child labour activities at razed shop

IPOH: Authorities are investigating whether four teenagers were illegally hired at a shop that caught fire and killed six people.

The police are also checking to see if the fire was caused by gunpowder, which may have been stored in a shop that manufactures fireworks two doors away.

State Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan said the owners of the shop where the children might have worked at could face prosecution if they were found to have contravened labour laws.

He said the Perak Human Resources Department had been instructed to look into allegations that teenagers worked at the razed shop.

The shop provides outdoor events services and equipment such as canopies, PA systems and lightings.

Six people were killed during Tuesday’s fire at the shop in the Jelapang Maju Industrial Area.

Gone too soon: (From left) Ahmad Faizal, Mohd Ikhmal, Mohamad Nor Ikram, Mohamad Azhar and Mohd Nor Aiman.

“I have asked the department to check if the firm engaged the students to work there and to find out what kind of work the students were engaged in.

“It will be quite complicated now that there was a fire there. We need proof that children had indeed been hired to work there and that the teenagers were not just sitting around,” Sivanesan said yesterday.

Those killed in the incident included P. Thiagarajun, 40, who is believed to be the shop owner.

The others are student Mohamad Nor Ikram Mohd Husni, 15, Mohd Nor Aiman Abdul Rahman, 16, Mohd Ikhmal Izzudin Mohd Kamari, 16, Ahmad Faizal Amiruddin, 16, and Mohamad Azhar Shah Rosli, 19.

Sivanesan said Socso would also look into giving out payments to the victims’ families for burial expenses.

Perak Criminal Investigation Department chief Senior Asst Comm Yahya Abd Rahman said the fireworks shop owner would have his statement recorded today.

“We want to check whether the owners have a permit for the explosive items,” he said, adding that the incident was being investigated under Section 304 of the Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

SAC Yahya said the fire was caused by an explosion that went off at the events service shop.

“We can confirm that the explosion is caused by fireworks. There were lots of traces of gunpowder there.

“We are, however, still trying to find out how the explosion occurred,” he said at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital mor­tuary.

SAC Yahya said the police interviewed one of the survivors. That man, in his 50s, works as a driver for the company.

“We have also viewed CCTV recordings at the shop,” he added.

At a separate press conference, state Education Committee chairman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said parents need to monitor their children’s activities, especially if they took up part-time jobs.

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Courts Crime , underage labour , fire , shop