Malaysia to look into safety of structures, roads

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia will look into strengthening the safety measures for buildings and infrastructure to ensure they are able to withstand major phenomena such as earthquake, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said.

Although Malaysia was spared from major calamities, he said, it was necessary to prepare for any eventuality.

"We cannot predict what will happen, more so with the change in the global climate.

"The time has therefore come for Malaysia to put in place measures to ensure safety of high-rise buildings and infrastructure such as roads," he told reporters after opening Kolej Yayasan Sabah's animation studio here on Oct 1.

He was asked to comment on a statement by structural engineering specialist Prof Dr Azlan Adnan of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) that most of the buildings in the country were exposed to serious damage in the event of an earthquake.

Dr Azlan said that according to a study carried out by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and Ikram Assessment Sdn Bhd on the risk of earthquake and tsunami in Malaysia, 30% of 65 public buildings inspected nationwide, including those in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Klang, were exposed to the risk of serious damage.

Ongkili said the ministry, in collaboration with the Public Works Department, would discuss with the relevant agencies to determine the standards for structures.

On Sept 30, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit Sumatra in Indonesia, sending tremors and shaking buildings in areas as far away as Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. -- Bernama

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