Ceiling, wall of shopping outlet falls

ALOR STAR - The ceiling and wall of a brand-new warehouse-cum- shopping outlet in Jitra collapsed yesterday, sending tonnes of debris crashing onto the shopping area. Disaster, however, was averted as the incident occurred hours before it was opened for business.

The structure of the Cmart Wholesale mall, located within the Kompleks Darulaman Industry, gave way at 8.40am yesterday, and caved in onto the mall's clothing and shoe section. The incident occurred less than three months after it was opened to the public on July 25.

A maintenance worker, Abdul Rohim Talib, 33, and his colleague had started their rounds at the building when he heard a loud cracking sound and saw the ceiling crumble to the ground. " We then saw the ceiling crash down onto the clothing and footwear section, followed by the wall structure." Rohim, who was visibly shaken by the incident, said he alerted his superior to order the hypermarket workers to leave the area.

Jitra Fire and Rescue Department operation chief Mohamed Darus said the hypermarket operator had been ordered to temporarily cease its operation to allow investigation at the site. Kubang Pasu district officer Zahari Ismail said the developer of the complex had breached its building approval condition by renting out the building to the hypermarket operator. He said the developer had also leased out the building without obtaining the certificate of fitness (CF) approval.