Consumers Association of Penang wants all hill-related projects stopped

20 Oct 2018 / 18:30 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) want the Penang government to stop all work on hill-related construction projects following the landslide at the construction site at Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong that caused four foreign workers to die, three injured while nine others feared to be buried alive.
CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said the state government must stop hill-related construction projects until proper safety and environmental checks are carried out to ascertain all precautionary measures had been taken, to avoid further tragedies.
He said the Penang government and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) must accept the blame and responsibility for their lack of oversight, lack of strict monitoring and lack of enforcement measures, leading to the tragedy, in what is the government's own project.
"Despite a stop-work order having been issued by the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (DOSH) a few days ago in relation to a collapse of beams along the road project, it clearly shows that no safety and preventive measures were taken at the site to protect workers and prevent any mishaps," he said in a statement here today.
A landslide occurred yesterday at the construction site of the RM545-million Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road linking Paya Terubong to Relau, a week after 14 concrete beams measuring 25m each fell down the slope on the site last Thursday.
The project which was started in 2016 was being implemented by three parties to save costs, namely the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), PLB Land Sdn Bhd and Geo Valley Sdn Bhd while the incident occurred in the section under MBPP.
Mohamed Idris said MBPP is supposed to be overseen by a state-level Risky Land Development Committee for high-risk projects, as set out in the Penang Hillsite Development Guidelines 2012 which required proper monitoring and enforcement by the relevant authorities, including the MBPP, for all hill-related projects, including the government's own projects like the one in Bukit Kukus.
In fact, he said the MBPP had a geotechnical unit, with experts who are supposed to review all hill slope projects and ensure proper measures are in place.
"Yet this latest tragedy has happened, so soon after the Tanjung Bunga landslide a year ago, and after the collapse of the beams in Bukit Kukus just a few days ago.
"What this reveals is that the State and the MBPP have absolutely no capability in ensuring that hill slope projects including road projects such as this, are capable of being undertaken in a safe manner," he said.
He added that given the lack of capacity of the state and municipal authorities, assistance should be sought from the federal government and other states to undertake inspection and monitoring and enforcement measures.
He also suggested that the authorities to carry out immediate inspections at the construction sites and take action to ensure measures are in place to prevent slope failures and landslides before resumption of works.
"Penang Government also must halt all further approvals of projects involving hill lands and slopes, even for government projects, including those under the Penang Transport Master Plan," he said.
On Oct 21 last year, a landslide struck an affordable housing project construction site in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah in an incident which took the lives of 11 workers comprising a local, five Bangladeshis, two Indonesians, two Myanmar and a Pakistani who were buried by earth from the landslide on a hill side. — Bernama

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