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Ministry probe into Jaya supermart collapse

PENANG, 2 June 2009: The Human Resources Ministry, in collaboration with several other agencies, has launched an investigation into the collapse of the former Jaya supermarket in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, which killed seven Indonesian workers on 28 May 2009.

Human Resources Minister Datuk S Subramaniam said officers from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), the Works Ministry and the local authority were expected to take at least two weeks to complete the probe.

The investigation was also aimed at identifying whether there was negligence or failure to comply with procedures on the part of the engineer, contractor or building owner, he said.

Speaking to reporters today after opening the SME Training Fair, Subramaniam said the investigations would also look at the method used to demolish the building.

He said that preliminary information showed that the party handling the demolition began the work before obtaining DOSH’s approval.

“It is understood that they started the work immediately after getting the local authority’s approval when they were also required to get approval from DOSH before starting any work,” he said.

Subramaniam said DOSH would surely have advised the party concerned on safety measures before demolition work began.

He said if the investigation found negligence had occurred, the guilty party could be fined RM50,000 or jailed two years or both under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“Right now we are waiting for the outcome of the investigation and will determine the action to be taken later,” he said.

He also said the ministry would amend the Act to give the government power to take action on professionals who failed to run their projects well.

“We want professionals such as engineers to be more responsible over their projects and comply with all the requirements stipulated, especially those involving safety issues,” he said.

The amendment to the Act was still at the preliminary stage of drafting and was expected to take a year to be completed before its tabling in Parliament, he said. — Bernama

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