Public Nervous After Blast

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People are concerned over safety measures at shopping centres and malls as the recent explosion at the Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya has made everyone jittery.
WHILE the cause and source of the explosion at the Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya last Wednesday is still being investigated, the incident itself has made everyone nervous and jittery.
Lee Ming Hoi, 30, who enjoys spending time at her favourite mall in Bandar Utama, said even though she believed the incident was an isolated one, she was concerned that it could happen again.
“It makes me wonder just how safe we are as freak accidents can happen anywhere at anytime,’’ she said.
Bangsar resident M. Ali said the public relied on City Hall, the Fire and Rescue Department and agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH) in checking the safety of public buildings before issuing the Certificate of Fitness.

A mess: The interior of Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya after the explosion.
“They cannot absolve themselves from incidences like this as it can happen anywhere,’’ Ali said.
The Empire Shopping Gallery which was partly damaged in an explosion last Wednesday morning, is now undergoing round-the-clock repairs.
It was reported by the Energy Commission that the actual cause of the explosion was still under investigation and could take up to three months to be determined.
The explosion also damaged the adjoining office block and studio apartments. Four people were injured.
The incident has left people with an uneasy feeling especially about their safety.
Mall patrons feel that it is the duty of shopping malls to guarantee their safety when they visit the complexes.
Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management (PPK) general manager Evelyn Lo said shopping centres, especially the newer ones, placed great emphasis on safety and security.
“We have a safety and security sub-committee which meets every month to discuss ways and measures to keep our malls safe,’’ she said, adding that the committee was established six years ago.
“We have been conducting safety and security training with the guards regularly.
“Among the areas discussed are security procedures, maintenance, renovation, fire prevention and safety at car parks,’’ Lo said.
She added that some of the malls even provided security escorts and even panic buttons at basement car parks as an added security measure to scare off would be-criminals.
“Safety and security is one of the main aspects in our business and it is our top priority,’’ Lo added.
Some complexes even have a team of qualified personnel trained in Liqueified Petroleum Gas (LPG) management.
Sungei Wang Plaza Management Corporation (Promotions and Public Relations) senior manager K.K. Lim said their LPG team carried out daily inspections to ensure that all their equipment were in good condition.
Lim said since Sungei Wang is an old mall the complex management carried out strict safety measures to ensure all LPG equipment and systems complied with requirements from the Energy Commission and DOSH.
“Sungei Wang always puts the safety of the public above all interests. The safety of our patrons is something that we do not and cannot take for granted,’’ Lim said.
In an e-mail to StarMetro, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur said their priority was always providing the best to every visitor.
One of the keys to this is always ensuring the safety of our tenants, visitors and employees.
“Towards this end, we continuously work with all related authorities, developing comprehensive plans, incorporating best practices and regularly conducting safety drills to ensure optimal standards of safety are met,’’ the e-mail read.
IUtama operations manager Anderson Chong said it had always been 1Utama’s policy to place safety as their priority.
“We engage competent contractors to maintain all our mechanical and electrical systems to ensure the highest safety standard is maintained at all times.
“This is via vigorous checking and periodic preventive maintenance.
“But at the end of the day, it is the vigilance of security personnel that makes all the difference.
“We have ample security personnel in and around the mall to check and detect any “strange or extraordinary” happenings.
“The moment they detect a gas leak, it is their duty to immediately get the maintenance department to check the problem.”
According to Chong, this has been the Standard Operation Procedure for 1Utama all this while.
He added that the mall also practised safety precautions by checking their fire-fighting system, lifts, escalators, electrical risers and public paging system daily to ensure they were running effectively.
“Should we encounter a gas leakage situation from our F&B tenants after business hours, we will force open the outlet entrance and turn off the gas. We are strict and vigilant when it comes to the safety of our shoppers, tenants and employess who stay or work late after the mall closes,’’ he said.
Chong’s sentiment is shared by Sunway Pyramid’s marketing and communications manager Darren Chear who also reiterated the fact that the complex practised regular maintenance and inspection exercises to ensure that all systems were in working order.


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