Sumatera quake jolts Malaysians into leaving buildings


KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — A strong earthquake in Indonesia’s Sumatera island today jolted Malaysians into rushing out of office buildings and houses as tremors were felt also along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

The Twitter platform was abuzz with people who felt the tremors reporting their experiences and enquiring what had happened.

The Meteorological Department MetMalaysia tweeted that an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude had occurred in northern Sumatera at 9.39 am and that tremors were felt in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, especially in Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.

It said the epicentre of the earthquake was 76 km northwest of Payakumbuh in Sumatera and that Malaysia did not face any threat of a tsunami that could be triggered by the tremblor.

Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department director Nordin Paudzi said that based on information from fire and rescue service personnel the tremors were felt throughout Kuala Lumpur.

“So far there have been no calls for emergency assistance linked to the tremors.

“Nevertheless, the fire and rescue service personnel are prepared for any eventuality. The department will monitor the situation via MetMalaysia,” Nordin said.

Several Bernama reporters said the tremors were felt for less than five seconds.

They said social media users expressed anxiety and worry when reporting their experiences.

Bernama editor-in-chief Khairdzir Md Yunus said all staff of the news agency were also instructed to temporarily evacuate the building as a safety measure.

“This is a standard operating procedure (SOP) for disaster. The safety of the staff is our priority as an earthquake could lead to other emergency situations,” he said as he joined the staff at the news agency’s parking lot.

Khairdzir said the management had also asked the Fire and Rescue Department to run an inspection on the building to ensure that it was not affected by the tremors.

In PUTRAJAYA, tremors were also felt at the federal government’s administration centre and staff of several ministries were also instructed to evacuate the buildings, including those at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and theMinistry of Housing and Local Government in Precinct 4, as well as the Setia Perdana Compex and the Ministry of Federal Territories in Precinct 2.

All the staff were asked to gather in open areas near their respective ministries.

Staff at the Prime Minister’s Department at Complex B said they were allowed to re-enter the building at 10.25 am. 

Bernama checks also found that staff in other ministries such as the Ministry of Transport, National Audit Department and Attorney-General’s Chambers were also evacuated and gathered outside their respective office buildings.

The operations at the National Registration Department and National Audit Department were seen to have resumed three hours after the incident.

In PAHANG, the State Fire and Rescue Department in a statement said the tremors were also felt at Menara Zenith, Tabung Haji building and the Inland Revenue Board building.

“All staff at the buildings were safely evacuated and gathered in a safe assembly area. Inspections found no damage or casualty,” it said.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, Bernama checks found several government offices had also taken a similar approach in evacuating their staff following reports of the tremors.

In JOHOR, tremors were also reported to have been felt at several housing areas in Johor Bahru.

Larkin fire and rescue station operation commander Syuhaidy Fazly Yahya said they receive a building emergency call involving residents at the Amari Larkin Apartment in the state capital.

He said the residents were found to have evacuated themselves and gathered in an open space even before the fire and rescue team arrived at the location.

Upon inspection, no casualty or damage was found, he added.