Latest News

National News

Malaysia Islamic school toll revised to 23

A blaze at an Islamic boarding school in the Malaysian capital has killed at least 23 people, most of them teenage boys who cried for help from barred windows, officials say.

The fire broke out earl;y on Thursday in a top-floor dormitory in the three-storey building, firemen said, where most of the students, aged between 13 and 17, were sleeping in bunk beds, with many of the windows covered by metal grills.

Two teachers were also killed in the fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah, a 15-minute drive from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, police said. Most of the victims died from smoke inhalation.

The disaster has renewed calls for greater scrutiny of so-called "tahfiz" schools, where students learn to memorise the Koran. They are unregulated by the education ministry, being the responsibility of the religious department.

At least 30 fires at such schools have been reported this year, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar told reporters, adding that the Kuala Lumpur school should not have been in operation.

Fire department operations deputy director Soiman Jahid said officials were investigating the fire but it was likely caused by a short circuit or a mosquito repellent coil.

The dormitory had only one entrance, leaving many of the victims trapped, he said. At least one window was unbarred.

"The building was surrounded by metal grills that could not be opened from the inside. The students, after realising the fire and heavy smoke, tried to escape through the window," Soiman said outside the school.

"But because of the grills, they could not escape."

Soiman said the school had submitted a request for fire safety approval but no new checks had been carried out as the request was still being processed.

"The pupils all got locked in and they couldn't escape and got burnt," Nadia Azalan, sister of a 13-year-old victim, told Reuters in tears. "Safety should come first."

A man identified only as Hazin, who lived next door to the school, said his son called the fire department after they heard screams and saw the flames.

"The children were crying for help, but I couldn't help them as the door was already on fire," he told Reuters.

"I only managed to save a few of the kids who jumped out the window."

© RAW 2017

You may also like...

CQ caught in double political crossfire: Opinion

CQ caught in double political crossfire: Opinion

'Federal and state governments are playing political roulette at our cost': Editor says parties using our key projects for own political gains...

GALLERY: Mount Morgan State High School Formal

GALLERY: Mount Morgan State High School Formal

Held last week, year 12 Mount Morgan State High School students celebrated in style. Check out the full gallery here...

LIVE COVERAGE: Rocky candidates fire up for debate

LIVE COVERAGE: Rocky candidates fire up for debate

LIVE STREAM: Follow our live updates and watch a live stream of the event here...

Labor offers more regional firies

Labor offers more regional firies

Labor promises more firies but policy does not mention key firefighter organisation...