All new Sabah buildings to be quake-proof

All new Sabah buildings to be quake-proof
The SMK Agama Mohd Ali library in Ranau, Sabah collapsed following a weak earthquake of magnitude 3.5 on June 23, 2015.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah is finali­sing a building code requiring all new structures, especially high-rise buildings, to be earthquake proof.

Such a requirement for buildings to be earthquake proof was crucial in tremor-prone areas such as Ra­­nau and Kundasang at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, as well as Lahad Datu and other parts of Sabah's east coast, said State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor.

The code, he said, was also needed in Kota Kinabalu which was shaken by the earthquake in Mount Kinabalu in June 2015.

In an interview, Hajiji said the building code was drafted after officials of the State Local Govern­ment and Housing Ministry went to Taiwan and Japan to study the requirements and practices there.

He said the building code would be introduced in a matter of months once the Sabah Cabinet gave its approval.

"This is something that we have been talking about for several years. We will introduce it soon," Hajiji added.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah geologist Dr Felix Tongkul had said that Sabah has the most active seismic fault lines in the country ahead of Sarawak, Selangor, Pahang and Negri Sembilan.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau had also spoken about Malaysia developing its own technology and innovation to build earthquake resistant structures.

In the late 1970s, the Malaysian Rubber Board and University of California in Berkeley initiated a joint research and development to evaluate the use of seismic rubber bearings as base isolation for the structures, he said.

Tangau said the technology had since been used in the construction of the second Penang bridge, which could now withstand an earthquake of up to a magnitude of 7.5.

He said earthquake-proof buildings in China, Indonesia, Armenia and Iran had also been built using the Malaysian technology.

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