(From right) Zeckry briefs Chieng and Izkandar on the lift operations. — Photo by Peter Boon
SIBU (May 3): There should always be a technician on standby to monitor the lifts at Sibu Central Market, in case of emergency such as the one that occurred on Monday morning.
In making this call, Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) deputy chairman Mohammed Abdullah Izkandar Roseley expressed his dissatisfaction over the contractor’s response time to attend to the emergency, where two people were trapped inside a stalled lift at the market.
“They (the two individuals) remained stuck inside the lift for about 45 minutes before the contractor arrived.
“The two had to wait for the contractor to come and open the lift; it is known that this contractor is also servicing (the lifts in) the hospital.
“To me, this response time is unacceptable as the council always places top priority on public safety. Even 10 minutes (of waiting time inside the lift) is unacceptable, as it can be very stressful especially for elderly folks.
“The contractor’s response time must be fast since they are contracted to manage and maintain the lifts (at the central market).
“So, we will set up a meeting with the contractor soon, and I will press on the issue of safety and response time,” he told The Borneo Post when met after jointly conducting inspection on the lifts with Bukit Assek assemblyman Joseph Chieng at the central market here yesterday.
For the record, there are four lifts at Sibu Central Market, with one near the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC)’s entrance being ‘notoriously problematic’.
These lifts are known to be under heavy usage in view of the market also housing the UTC.
Izkandar added: “While we understand the contractor’s manpower constraints with regard to having CPs (competent persons) to monitor the lifts, they must also acknowledge the need for better maintenance in view of the heavy usage of the lifts at the central market.
“It all boils down to maintenance and the SOP (standard operating procedure) on response time during any emergency.
“To me, there should be zero tolerance on risks affecting the HSE (healthy, safety and environment).”
Izkandar also stressed that he would not wish to see such incident reoccur.
“Like I have said, there is a high usage of the lifts at the central market, and there are also many elderly folks around.
“It’s best to do things properly to avoid any untoward incident. This kind of thing should not be happening,” he pointed out.
Asked if the problematic lift would be off limits for public use, Izkandar said the contractor’s CP was still in the midst of checking it.
“If it’s declared unfit for use later on, the lift would be off limits to the public.”
Adding on, Izkandar said of the four lifts, two were ‘old ones’, while the other two were installed in 2015 to facilitate access to the UTC.
With regard to the two old lifts, he said he would discuss with the engineer and after that, he would seek funding for repair or replacement works.
According to SMC technical assistant Zeckry Appley William, the lifts at Sibu Central Market are checked every month.
Meanwhile, a hawker at the central market said the Monday incident was not the first.
“There were several times when the lift stalled,” he said, requesting anonymity.