Tanjung Bungah landslide a man-made tragedy, says Commission of Inquiry

28 Aug 2019 / 22:01 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The findings of the Commission of inquiry on the massive landslide near the construction site in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah two years ago, show that the slope failure was a man-made tragedy which was entirely preventable.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, when presenting the Commission’s report today, said the landslide that occurred on Oct 21, 2017 was a disaster waiting to happen for a period of time.

“Among others, the slope failure was caused by a series of successive acts and omissions. In engineering terms, the landslide occurred because the disturbing forces had exceeded the soil resistance.

“The landslide that morning did not simply develop overnight. It was heralded by ample warnings from mother nature. Those warnings, sadly went either unheeded, or improperly and inadequately heeded,“ he told a press conference, here.

In the 8.57am incident, the landslide at the hill slope project claimed the lives of 11 workers comprising a local resident, five Bangladeshis, two Indonesians, two Myanmar nationals and a Pakistani who were buried alive.

Chow said the Commission’s report dated July 22 this year, which was submitted to the Penang Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, provided further analysis on the background facts, excerpts of testimonies recorded during the hearings and findings on liability against several parties.

The 116-page report also contained nine recommendations which the Commission hoped lessons learned from the unfortunate episode would not be in vain.

“Among others, the Commission recommends that a criminal investigation be conducted by the police (on the directive of the Attorney General, if necessary) into the consultant engineer’s gross negligence which had caused the loss of 11 lives, to determine whether or not the consultant engineer ought to be prosecuted under Section 304A of the Penal Code,“ he said.

Copies of the report are available for sale at RM50 per copy and can be collected at Level 3, Komtar from Sept 3 to Sept 30.

“On behalf of the Penang State Government, I would like to take this opportunity to record our deepest condolences to family members of the 11 individuals who perished on Oct 21, 2017. May the findings in the report provide some form of closure for the victims’ families and loved ones,“ he said. — Bernama

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