KUCHING, April 4 — The much-awaited Bill to amend the Sarawak Building Ordinance, 1994 can only be tabled at the Sarawak State Assembly at the end of this year, instead of during next month’s sitting, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian said today.

He said the Sarawak Attorney General’s Chambers (SAGC) is unable to finalise drafting the Bill in time for next month’s sitting of the state assembly.

“I inquired with the SAGC recently that I wanted to table the amendments in this coming sitting of the state assembly, but the SAGC said it is not ready with the Bill,” Dr Sim, who is also the state minister of public health, housing and local government, said at the launch of the fire safety campaign in conjunction with the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

He said he has briefed the state Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) director Datuk Khirudin Drahman on the delay in tabling the Bill.

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Dr Sim said he will do his best to ensure the ordinance, which was passed by the state assembly 30 years ago, will be amended this year to keep with the current and future needs of the building industry.

“I will make sure the ordinance will be amended as this is my job as the minister in charge of the housing and local government,” he said.

He said updating the ordinance will save a lot of lives and buildings in the event of fire incidents and make the work of Bomba more effective.

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Initially, the Bill was supposed to be tabled in the state assembly in November last year.

Dr Sim had said that among the amendments to the ordinance was the inclusion of first-aid facilities for selected buildings to enhance fire safety, especially high-rise buildings.

He had explained the availability of fire alarms in homes would allow Bomba to be alerted to any fire outbreaks and contain the fire within the shortest period of time possible.

The Bill was proposed after the state Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government had obtained feedback from Bomba to update the ordinance to meet current needs.