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 The roof  collapsed  on the  grandstand. —  Picture courtesy of PWD
The roof collapsed on the grandstand. — Picture courtesy of PWD

KUALA TERENGGANU (NST): It was a disaster waiting to happen, said engineer A. Mohamed.

Mohamed, who works in a private firm said he often jogged in the area and had noticed that the space frame which held the roof was getting bent out of shape.

“It could be seen from far away. I feared it would give way eventually and the roof would collapse. Today, it did.”

Mohamed claimed he had tried to warn government agencies and the media by sending pictures of the defects but was ignored.

Electrician Hanafiah Osman, 27, whose car was damaged in the incident said he was working on a lamp post outside the stadium when he heard a loud noise.
“I turned around and saw the roof collapsing.

“I rushed to my car but it was already crushed,” he said.

Stadium Management Board chief executive officer Arpin Draman said fortunately no event was held at the stadium as the roof collapsed on the grandstand.

“At the time of the incident, only a handful of stadium employees were in the vicinity and none of them were hurt.”

Arpin said he had never doubted the stadium’s structure as its safety had been assured by the Public Works Department.

“We have a bowling alley and squash courts in the stadium and it was fortunate the roof fell before they opened at 10am.”

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KUALA TERENGGANU (The Star): Several Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers were seen photographing and interviewing witnesses at the site of the collapsed roof at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Stadium in Gong Badak.

Four plainclothes officers, including state MACC director Ahmad Sabri Hussin, were spotted at the site between noon and 1pm.

When approached, one officer said a probe had been initiated into the awarding and managing of the contract to a South Korean construction firm which was responsible for the work.

“We are probing whether there are elements of graft and mismanagement,” said the officer who requested anonymity.

He said the MACC would focus its probe on the awarding process of the contract.

Asked if politicians and senior government officials had been involved in the awarding of the contract, he said: “It’s still premature and I don’t want to elaborate on this.”

Some 60% of the stadium roof collapsed and the impact severely damaged other parts of the building.

Construction of the RM300mil stadium, which began in 2005, had hit a snag midway apparently due to technical glitches.

The contractor was to hand over the sports complex in April last year to the state government for Sukma, which was held from May 31 to June 6, but delivery was only made a month later.

In an immediate response, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Mansor said his ministry would cooperate with the MACC and that it would be transparent, adding that it had nothing to hide.

“I am more concerned about our image being sullied abroad and I welcome MACC to investigate,” he said.

Batu Burok assemblyman Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi said the matter was of public interest and that the MACC should centre its probe on the involvement of “high-powered individuals”.

Meanwhile, some 5,000 athletes representing 20 higher learning institutions who were to converge at the stadium for a sports meet had to go to a different venue at the last minute.

The organiser’s spokesman Zakaria Ibrahim said the event would go ahead as planned.

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KUALA TERENGGANU (The Star): Billed as the pride of the state, the RM300mil Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak suffered a major blow when its roof collapsed yesterday – just a year after it was opened.

No one was injured in the 9am incident, but the stadium, which was the venue for Sukma (Malaysian Games) last year, has been declared unsafe.

The damage at the east wing has been estimated at RM25mil.

The impact of the collapse was so loud that an employee at the stadium thought that a plane had crashed-landed on it.

“I shivered when I heard the deafening sound,” stadium administration officer Noor-kumarasari Jamil, 31, said.

She panicked and screamed for her colleagues to leave the office as the Sultan Mahmud Airport was situated near to the stadium.

Noorkumarasari said her superior directed all the employees to vacate the office and take shelter at a nearby indoor stadium.

General worker Hajjah Shafar, 32, said she was terrified when she saw the roof structure tumbling down.

“I was sweeping the floor at the west wing of the stadium when the roof collapsed,” she said. “I just ran for my life.”

Nineteen workers, mostly cleaners, were at the stadium but they managed to flee to safety.

The stadium is part of the modern Gong Badak sports complex, which was built at an initial cost of RM250mil but the amount surged by an additional RM50mil due to soaring prices of building materials.

The indoor stadium, which is also part of the complex, was built at a cost of RM160mil.

The roof on the stadium’s left wing was ravaged after the iron frame structure supporting the 300m-long roof destabilised, causing it to fold. The affected zones were the main entrance, royal podium and the public seating area.

A Kancil car and three motorcycles were also damaged by the debris.

Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Mansor, who visited the site, said the Construction and Industrial Development Board, a wing under the ministry, had been tasked to form a team comprising architects to determine the cause of the catastrophe.

“It’s premature to point fingers at any party, including the contractor responsible for erecting the roof structure, until the outcome of the investigation.

“The stadium is still under warranty and the contractor will bear the cost of the remedial works,” he said, adding that the incident had tarnished the reputation of the country.

State Fire and Rescue Department director Puazan Ahmad said they received a distress call at 9.45am, and 25 personnel were sent to the site.

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