LABUAN: It is estimated that over 50% of Islamic educational institutions, including tahfiz schools and dilapidated government schools nationwide, do not comply with fire safety requirements, thus are in need of improvements.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pix) said the agency was constantly conducting checks and compiling reports for the government’s action.
“We do not have statistics detailing the number of tahfiz schools and dilapidated schools nationwide which do not comply with fire safety requirements, but we assume it could be more than 50%,” he said at a press conference after the closing of a seminar on Occupational Health and Safety Management, here today.
Lee said the condition of some schools was found to be unconducive to safety and health.
“NIOSH is doing its corporate social responsibility (CSR) of visiting schools, providing service and creating educational awareness of the importance of occupational safety and health management,” he said.
He said non-compliance to safety requirements also happened in many government-sponsored schools in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The situation in these schools is pathetic, the buildings have been there for more than 30 years ... there are classrooms which are not in good condition.
“We have to depend on the government, of course it is still the government’s responsibility through the Education Ministry to ensure it has sufficient funds for improvements to the schools concerned,” Lee said.
He said it was understood that tahfiz schools which were mostly not run by the government had no adequate funds.
“There are tahfiz schools run privately by certain religious bodies and state governments. Therefore, budget is always an issue,” he added.
Lee called on the private sector and corporate bodies to render financial assistance to tahfiz schools as part of their CSR programme.
There are three tahfiz schools in Labuan run privately by individuals and are not fully under the jurisdiction of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI). — Bernama