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    Jan 21, 2014

    Fire victims' families may get over $140k

    THE families of two security guards who died in a fire at the Marina Bay Suites last week could each be entitled to more than $140,000 in compensation, Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday.

    The two security guards, Singaporean Sim Lai Huat, 58, and Malaysian Sooria Kala Kanaseon, 34, died at the penthouse of the luxury condominium last Monday night.

    Mr Srinarayan Singh, managing director of Pico Guards, which employed both victims, told Zaobao yesterday that the two guards were covered by accident insurance provided by the company.

    Under the Work Injury Compensation Act, the families are entitled to compensation of between $57,000 and $170,000. This amount is based on their monthly salary and age.

    Mr Singh said that the company has applied for compensation from the Ministry of Manpower on the families' behalf. The compensation could amount to more than $140,000, based on the insurer's estimate.

    He said that the procedure for compensation under the Act is relatively straightforward, as family members only need to prove that the victims died in a work-related incident.

    However, he added that the families may be able to receive a larger amount in compensation if they file a suit under common law. They will have to prove that a third party caused the deaths of their kin, but the damages could be much higher.

    Mr Sim's family is considering this option, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday. Pico will help the families with the legal fees, Shin Min quoted Mr Singh as saying.

    Mr Sim Wai Kiang, 25, told Shin Min that he will ask his father's company about hiring a lawyer, and will not rule out filing a suit.

    "But he's already gone, so compensation is secondary, we will discuss it after the funeral," Mr Sim added.

    The day of the fire was also the elder Sim's first day of work at Marina Bay Suites, The New Paper reported. He had not worked at a high-rise building before.

    The paper also said it was not Madam Sooria's turn to respond to the fire alarm that day. She had volunteered to take over from a colleague.

    Mr Singh said: "Sooria actually volunteered to go up when the fire alarm went off. Someone else was going to do it, but she volunteered."

    A former supervisor who worked at Marina Bay Suites, Madam Premala, 31, said: "(Madam Sooria) would always volunteer to do things and offer to cover for her colleagues."

    Madam Sooria leaves behind four children, aged three to 13, who are living in Seremban, Malaysia.