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GEORGE TOWN (The Star): Architect Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Shah, who designed the RM300mil Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, said he had highlighted the problem regarding its roof structure many times.

Speaking out for the first time to defend his company Senibahri Arkitek, Raja Kamarul Bahrin said he had given “numerous views” on the roofing of the stadium through the Public Works Department to the specialist contractor from South Korea since early last year.

“I was saddened and shocked to learn about the roof collapse,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Raja Kamarul Bahrin said he initially did not want to comment on the incident until his return next Wednesday.

“I think I need to clear the air so that people won’t get the wrong idea about my absence. I’m in Mecca to perform the umrah,” he said.

In KUALA TERENGGANU, a special team comprising building engineers from the state PWD will conduct safety inspections on newly constructed buildings in the state including the RM123mil Sultan Mahmud Airport terminal here.

State PWD deputy director Ghazali Hashim will head the team, which will also check the Batu Burok Aquatic Complex and the Indoor stadium in Gong Badak.

In MUAR, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim said any party responsible for the collapse of the roof should be answerable to the people.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the Muar stadium yesterday, he said the ministry planned to coordinate the management and activities of all stadiums in the country, including those managed by the local authorities.

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KUALA TERENGGANU (The Star): The Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium was issued a partial work completion certificate last year as it was considered safe to host the Malaysia Games.

State Public Works Department deputy director Ghazali Hashim said the certification, based on the report by an independent examiner, was given to several sections of the stadium including the track, field and several areas outside the building.

“However, we have not issued any certification for the roof as it was still under the warranty period,” he said of the roof of the stadium which collapsed on Tuesday.

A local consultant commissioned to evaluate the safety of the roof declared it safe, he said, adding: “So, we allowed the Games to be held at the venue.”

Ghazali had earlier accompanied Youth and Sport Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek to visit the site Wednesday.

Ghazali said the department was only empowered to issue a work completion certificate once the warranty period had ended. “We have to wait for the warranty period to be over before issuing any certification for the roof,” he said.

Ghazali said government buildings were exempted from having to apply for Certificate of Fitness before occupying the premises.

In the case of the stadium, he said the department issued a partial certification and was in the midst of getting a full-fledged status for the stadium.

The department, he said, would ask the stadium’s main contractor for compensation and carry-out remedial work.

“We will hold the main contractor responsible as (the other firm) the Korean firm was the sub-contractor. “As far as we are concerned, payments were made directly to main contractor and not the Korean firm,” he said.

Ghazali said the department had previously compounded the main contractor for not completing work as scheduled.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said has ordered an immediate inspection of newly completed buildings following the incident.

He said the checks would focus on detecting structural defects, cracks and shoddy workmanship. Some of the new buildings are the indoor stadium, Sultan Mahmud Airport and swimming complex.

He said he himself noticed defects on the roof of the year-old Sultan Mahmud Airport. He said the state would appoint independent consultants to carry out the checks.

The roof collapse came only one year after the stadium’s completion which cost RM300mil.

Authorities are investigating if the contractors had rushed to complete the stadium ahead of the Malaysia Games in June last year. Meanwhile, Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Shah of Senibahri Arkitek, the principal architect of the stadium, said he might comment on the incident in a few days’ time.

“I can’t say anything now as I do not have the full facts,” he said when contacted via SMS in Medinah where he is on his way to perform the umrah at Mecca.

Raja Kamarul Baharin said he would return to the country on June 10.

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