MALACCA: The contractors and consultants responsible for gas works at the AEON Jusco outlet in Bachang here have been suspended with immediate effect.
The order came as initial findings from an investigation pointed to negligence and a massive leak in the centralised gas system as being the cause of the explosion on Monday that killed a 25-year-old supervisor and injured 20 others.
State Fire and Rescue Department director Nik Zulkifli Ibrahim said the findings were based on the department’s investigations into the gas blast, with the final report of the joint probe expected to be out within two weeks.
“The main cause of the explosion was due to a large gas leak at the Tea & Food outlet as indicated by a small fire following the explosion,” he told reporters after accompanying Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam to the scene on Thursday.
He added that negligence by those responsible for the centralised liquid petroleum gas system was also a factor for the incident.
Energy Commission chief operating officer Ahmad Fauzi, who was also present, said the the joint probe by his commission and the Fire and Rescue Services Department is expected to be completed within two weeks.
“We are still carrying out investigations and interviewing witnesses. It will take about two weeks before investigations are completed and the area cleared for repair work,” he said.
He added the contractors, consultant and competency engineer responsible for work on the shopping mall’s centralised gas system would be suspended from work with immediate effect.
The deadly blast occurred at the food court section on the ground floor of the three-storey complex just before 1pm on Monday as workers and tenants were busy making final preparations for the mall’s grand opening on Dec 17.
The force of the blast caused a 2m-wide hole in the building wall, showering glass and debris over a 25m radius and causing a small fire.
Tiau See Peing, a supervisor from Batu Pahat of the Old Town White Coffee outlet, was killed by flying debris while 20 others are being treated at the Malacca Hospital of which six are critical, eight seriously injured while six others received outpatient treatment.
Meanwhile, AEON Juscos general manager (corporate communications) A. Rashid Adam said they would abide by the authorities’ orders and defer the opening of shopping mall until completion of the probe.
“We will comply with the orders issued by the authorities. This will give them time to carry out a detailed investigation while ensuring the safety of the area,” he said.
Although not specifying an exact date, he said the shopping mall’s opening is likely to take place some time in January next year.
By MARTIN CARVALHO and ALLISON LAI
Dipetik dari Star Online 17 Disember 2009