SEPANG, March 11 — The prime minister and the Ministry of Health (MOH) will respond to an independent investigation revealing lax fire safety at Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) that suffered a fatal blaze in 2016, Dr Adham Baba said.
The newly appointed health minister in the Perikatan Nasional administration told reporters yesterday that it was only his first day at work.
“Definitely the Prime Minister and Ministry Of Health will look into that,” Dr Adham said during a visit to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
CodeBlue reported that the independent inquiry, led by former Court of Appeal judge Hishamudin Yunus, found HSA had operated for 14 years without a fire certificate; the Fire and Rescue Department was reluctant to file charges against the MOH hospital because it was a government facility.
The inquiry accused the entire HSA management and MOH of not taking fire safety seriously, leading to the deaths of six patients in the Johor hospital’s South Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on October 25, 2016. It noted that some of the victims could have been saved if HSA staff had been trained in emergency evacuation and fire drills.
The committee also highlighted Medivest Sdn Bhd’s “dishonest behaviour”, citing police reports against the hospital support services company for data falsification and forgery. Medivest — which was appointed without open tender in 2015 for 10 years — allegedly provided HSA a fire extinguisher that malfunctioned at the critical moment during the blaze. Medivest also allegedly breached its concession agreement by not purchasing insurance for the Johor Baru public hospital, resulting in losses to the government to the tune of RM8.9 million.
The family of one of the victims — 24-year-old Neeramaladevi Chandran — filed a negligence lawsuit against the HSA director, the Johor state health director, and the government last October. The defendants have denied negligence.