BATU FERINGGHI FIRE – LESSONS FOR ALL!

Dato Jacob George

‘We need to look at the squatter area within as we have all kinds of extensions made – many  certainly illegal!

If the area is a fire trap then we must have the political courage to address this as well without any party politiking or trying to be political heros for the wrong reasons!

And I say this because many of these illegal extensions and building were done long ago under a former very strong political warlord who will go nameless for the moment!’ – Dr Jacob George

BATU FERINGGHI FIRE – LESSONS FOR ALL!

When I called dear friend Premesh of Malaysiakini to alert him on this tragedy his first reaction was –

‘Chief every time you are back in Penang something happens the last tragedy being the Tsunami hit on ‘box-in day’ December 26th!

True, I was right in the smack of it alerting the state and federal government, the PM’s department, the electronic and print media, former Penang CM Koh as  he arrived in New York!

Borrowing my wife’s lap top I set up a communications center and grabed my camera and off  I went doing what I do best – trouble shooting, assisting  and witnessing first hand the horror and rising dead bodies all around as inter state politicians and others on similar holiday ran off cowardly from the hotel I was staying!

I became the point of contact at Batu Feringghi going on TV3 live repeatedly!
Smalll alley for visitors to browse

This time in 2010, I was already trouble shooting on issues from immitation goods and DVDs, CDs, illegal nightclubs, taxi touts, idiotic construction on hill slopes, destruction of the environment, beach bullies and suddenly this comes out!

I must say we need to relocate these night markets too as they have out grown themselves and immitation rejecting consumers wanting to avoid them are forced to walk of the narrow dangerous road putting themselves and their loved ones to danger!

Now to this fire!

It is truly sad and just as my son and I was about to visit dear friend, the Penang State Police Chief, a no nonsense, truly dedicated officer and one I respect greatly – I was caught addressing this tragedy!

It was sad that 2 residential buildings and 37 guest houses were destroyed in a fire at Kampung Belacan, Batu Feringghi, an area just opposite two lead hotels and one where we were staying!

I must really congratulate the State Fire and Rescue Department (Operation) for speedily sending 35 firemen in six fire engines to address the tragedy.

Though there were no lives lost locals, visitors from other states and foreigners lost personal belongings and their passports!

Since the authorities are investigating the cause of fire I will not say much but there are lessons to be learnt from this and  among them, whether we need to re-look at the area and assess the possibilities for future fires and on safety aspects therein.

We need to look at the squatter area within as we have all kinds of extensions made – many  certainly illegal!

If the area is a fire trap then we must have the political courage to address this as well without any party politiking or trying to be political heros for the wrong reasons!

And I say this because many of these illegal extensions and building were done long ago under a former very strong political warlord who will go nameless for the moment!

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