Mayor: Up safety measures

The car which plunged into the 15.4m hole on Tuesday. Both victims survived with minor injuries. —filepic

THE stop-work order for the Petaling Jaya-North underground sewerage upgrading project will only be lifted after its contractor improves on safety measures at the project sites, said Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain.

The order was issued to Mangkubumi Sdn Bhd after a motorist drove into a 15.4m-deep excavated hole for sewerage upgrading works along Jalan Universiti in Section 17 on Tuesday.

Both passengers, an 86-year-old man and a woman, escaped death and sustained minor injuries.

“I urge all contractors to up their safety measures at the worksite and follow the guidelines given. We don’t want a repeat of such incidents,” said Mohd Azizi.

He said four contractors worked on the underground sewerage project throughout the city and had been given proper guidelines to follow, including the safety measures.

Apart from Mangkubumi, the other three contractors are Unipenta Sdn Bhd, CWM Group Sdn Bhd and Jaks Resources Bhd.

While Unipenta was in charge of works at Bandar Utama, Section 17 and at Sungai Ara, the other two CWM and Jaks Resources focused on Petaling Jaya Selatan.

Mohd Azizi said at any one time, there would usually be about 10 open pits, usually at main roads around the city, where there was heavy traffic.

He wanted all underground sewerage worksites fitted with thick concrete barriers that could prevent a car from ramming into it.

“I want them to put up concrete barricades as soft plastic is not enough to prevent a car or even a motorbike from plunging into a deep hole,” he said.

Mohd Azizi also referred to projects spearheaded by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) such as the one-way loop system in Section 52, Petaling Jaya which must ensure public safety.

“We want all the holes to be covered well and with proper barriers. Do not put less sturdy barriers made of plastic.

“We will not hesitate to revoke the work permit especially if it is our own project, such as the one-way loop. We will issue a stop-work order,” said Mohd Azizi, adding that road signs must be clear.

He said he would request for contractors to station traffic personnel at sites to direct traffic and to ensure the projects were carried out safely.

Based on previous reports, he said, residents and motorists had complained that the traffic personnel stationed at the site were not doing a good job.

He added that there was fear of motorists from both directions colliding into each other as such project sites reduced two lanes to one lane.

In Tuesday’s accident, it is believed the driver had defied instructions of the traffic personnel, lost control of his vehicle, and plunged into the hole.

Mohd Azizi said MBPJ engineering team would meet Mangkubumi to view the closed-circuit television footage of the incident.

“We will take action against the contractor if we find that the personnel did not follow the safety regulations set by us,” he said, urging all contractors to put up more signage to divert traffic at project sites.

Mohd Azizi said this after launching the council’s new PJ Kita online portal aimed to connect MBPJ with stakeholders in the city.

“This is our less formal portal where the public can share complaints and ideas,” he said.

During the launch, he urged all his staff to have healthy competition as a way to improve the council’s services.

MBPJ officers were also advised to carry out regular site visits to monitor contractors and not pay them for shoddy work until they were done according to specifications.

“Our maintenance culture is also very weak. Our council office toilets, for example, are not clean,” he said, while at the same time commending hardworking officers receiving a five star rating from the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry.

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