THE fire that killed 21 tahfiz pupils and two teachers at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah centre yesterday was not “fated” but the result of human error, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali said during a visit to the site today.
“These kids were sent to the school to learn about the religion. They were sincere about learning.
“Those responsible for the school also have to take responsibility for the children’s wellbeing,” said the wife of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I am sad because this tragedy could have been avoided.
“We say that it is God or fate but God does not err. God only grants the best for people.
“The ugly and the bad are from us. We have to take that responsibility. Do not say it was God or fate.”
The 91-year-old paid a visit to the tahfiz school at Kg Datuk Keramat in Kuala Lumpur this morning in hopes of meeting the parents of victims but there were only policemen and authorities at the scene.
She said that all tahfiz schools and the public must learn from the tragedy. She came accompanied by a bodyguard and without an entourage.
“I wanted to visit the parents but they are not here. So, I will visit the hospital later.”
During her 20-minute stay, Dr Siti Hasmah was briefed by a police officer on the incident. She later said she was told that the dormitory was overcrowded.
“It was mentioned (that it was overcrowded). The bunk beds were too close to each other. But for more details, you should ask them (the police). They are investigating.”
The bodies are currently at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital mortuary.
DNA samples were collected from the victims’ family members for identification purposes because the bodies were badly burnt.
The identification process is expected to be completed later today and the bodies released to the families for burial.