This, said the Energy Commission of Malaysia, has left millions of Malaysians open to potential dangers in their own household. However, what's disheartening is that some Malaysians, despite being aware of the dangers, are reluctant to fork out the additional cost, feeling that the risk is worth taking.
The commission's department of electrical safety regulation director Abdul Rahim Ibrahim said, under the Electricity Regulation 1994, it is mandatory for all consumers to install an external residual-current circuit breaker (RCCB) with a 10mA (milliampere) current leakage sensitivity for water heaters.
"It is a requirement for consumers to install an external RCCB, for each water heater in their house, preferably outside the bathroom, for easy access.
"However, many consumers fail to adhere to the regulation," he said, adding that this was primarily due to lack of awareness.
Abdul Rahim said to address this, the commission, along with the Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consumerism Ministry, and Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia, were devising awareness campaigns and programmes for the next several months.
He said the commission will hold a meeting next month with water heater manufacturers and retailers to compel installers follow regulations by installing an external RCCB.
The meeting will be held after the commission receives a report on the investigation of the Sept 9 death of a Japanese couple, due to electrocution, in their Mont Kiara home.
Meanwhile, Electrical and Electronics Association of Malaysia (TEEAM) president Chew Shee Fuee said many consumers assumed that the built-in 15mA circuit breaker was sufficient, when in fact it would not provide full protection against leakages.