• "Based on data from the forensic fire department, it shows that the dominating causes of fires involve electrical short-circuit, electrical overloading and resistance heating.”

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 7): A total of 7,447 structural fire cases were recorded last year with 60% of them caused by electrical sources, according to the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (JBPM).

JBPM Fire Safety Division Senior Fire Superintendent I, Dr Mohd Zaid Abd Ghani said the number is the highest since 2018, involving 804 shops, 408 factories, 263 storage facilities, 200 offices and other structural buildings and residential premises   .

He said the most frequently reported cause of fire was electrical sources (4,558 incidents), followed by gas equipment (1,328 incidents), lighter (525) and glowing fire (519).

"Based on data from the forensic fire department, it shows that the dominating causes of fires involve electrical short-circuit, electrical overloading and resistance heating.

"(The) Majority of fire incidents occurred in residential buildings but we still get reports on cases involving commercial buildings," he said at the media forum 'Ignore the Peril, Face the Mayhem', here today.

The forum was held in collaboration with the Malaysian Press Institute, JBPM and Allianz Malaysia Berhad to raise awareness on fire insurance.

Mohd Zaid said last year, out of 8,328 designated premises, only 5,347 premises successfully obtained a fire certificate while 2,527 premises' FCs are in process.

Meanwhile, general chief underwriting officer Allianz Malaysia Bhd Rafliz Ridzuan said for commercial properties, the lack of maintenance was one of the key causes of fire incidents due to old installations and equipment, improper installation, lack of regular inspection and no supervision during operation hours.

"Most importantly, electrical fires are preventable and it is all down to managing risks and having actionable solutions," he said.

Meantime, Allianz Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Sean Wang believed that the issue surrounding commercial insurance was not the underserved coverage, but the lack of sense of vulnerability when it comes to fire safety or safety in general.

"Fire is a huge topic in the insurance industry. As insurers we see a lot of fire claims each year and the damages are catastrophic.

“Beside taking it lightly, some business owners put cost and probability of claim above safety and having proper risk assessment of their premises,” he said.

He said that mindset must change as it is important to understand business risks and how to prevent, mitigate and protect to ensure fewer disruptions and continued business operations. 

"Failing to do so leaves the business owner grossly underinsured and financially vulnerable," he stressed.

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