The government will have to look into many aspects such as better arrangement, distance between houses and fire stations before rebuilding water villages that are prone to fire incidents.
Local Government and Housing Ministry Datuk Jaujan Sambakong said his ministry's main target is to build not just a home but a proper water village with school, workplace, leisure and community hall which needs good planning.
He said a discussion was also held with the Fire and Rescue Department and its director Nordin Pauzi who also has a plan not based on the present concept because of frequent fire incidents in the coastal areas where houses were built on water.
Jaujan said the Fire and Rescue Service Department's suggestion about putting fire station at water villages should also be considered so that fire incidents can be controlled and also educate the community so that fire would not happen often.
He cited other places like Labuan and Sarawak also have water villages, but hardly any fire incidents compared to water villages in Sabah.
"Fire incident often happen â€¦ less than a month, three fires occurred, so the people need to know that the government needs to plan so that fire incident does not occur frequently" he said on Thursday (2 July) when visiting the fire incident sites at Kampung Air Tengah and Kampung Air Hujung where 105 houses were destroyed on Tuesday leaving 1,002 victims from 227 families homeless.
Jaujan handed over aid from the government, non-governmental organizations and welfare bodies to the victims.
He hoped the fire victims in Semporna and other districts will be patient because it is not easy for the government to build a house immediately as there are many things needed to be considered.
Jaujan also reminded the people about safety, playing a role together in maintaining the safety of the family.
He said said the people should not place security issue on the government or related parties like health to the hospital and fire to the Fire and Rescue Service Department.
"The community needs to have its own responsibility, that is important" he said.
Commenting on fire incidents at water villages, Nordin said the department needed to balance between risks and the incident.
He said to offset this risk, the department would have to cooperate with the state government and discuss to identify suitable locations to deploy smaller fire stations at the edge of water villages to serve as a home-based fire service over land as well as with a boat to access the water villages or the sea.
He said these two new concepts could provide services for two forms of fire risks, land and sea.
According to the director, there is no such concept in Malaysia yet and the department sees this concept as suitable for the water villages in the state.
Nordin said the department was working together with the state government to get the right site because the site would be quite critical as it needed to serve the land and sea.
He said he hoped Sabah would be selected for this pilot project because of the highest risk here and priority would be given to the water villages.
For protection and prevention, he said the department needed to work with all agencies as all new construction relocations must refer to fire safety such as distance, building materials, elevation, accessibility, bridges and jetty, which could be a fire break in case of fire.