Owners want freedom of choice on fire system

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 09 May 2019

I REFER to the letter “At odds with Fire Department” (The Star, May 2) by S. M. Mohamed Idris, president of the Consumers Association of Penang. I would like to add my views to the issue by bringing in the Uniform Building By-Law 1984 (UBBL 1984) and Fire Services Act 1988.

Section 228(2) of the UBBL 1984 states that “All sprinkler systems shall be electrically connected to the nearest fire station to provide immediate and automatic relay of the alarm when activated”; while Section 239 says “Every large premises or building exceeding 30.5 metres in height shall be provided with a command and control centre located on the designated floor and shall contain a panel to monitor the public address, fire brigade communication, sprinkler, waterflow detectors, fire detection and alarm systems and with a direct telephone connection to the appropriate fire station by-passing the switchboard.”

I refer to the prickly situation that several Kuching building owners, including myself, are finding ourselves in. We are caught between continuing to use the Computerized Fire Alarm Monitoring System (CMS) and taking up the new Automatic Fire Alarm Monitoring Control System (SPKA) as required by the Fire Department. Would continuing our CMS contract be a violation of the building by-laws and regulations? And what is the purpose of introducing the SPKA when the CMS has not failed us in the past? If we are playing by the rules, then why are our fire certificates (FC) being withheld?

As one of the many recipients of the Fire Department’s love letters, one does beg to ask what is legal and/or mandatory, especially when the department has been relentless in its pursuit to implement the new fire alarm system.

Having multiple CMS providers gives building owners the option of evaluating and choosing their own vendors. On the other hand, the new system represents a complete monopoly in which there is one provider only. Where is our say in the matter? Where is our freedom of choice?

Having said that, we, the free people of Sarawak, humbly request for our Housing and Local Government Minister to follow up on her investigation on this monopoly contract.



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