Tragedy happened due to lack of worksite safety, says CM

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow during the press conference in Komtar, George Town, Penang yesterday. - Starpic by MUSTAFA AHMAD / The Star / 9 Jan 2019.

THE Bukit Kukus landslide in Penang last October was due to an issue of worksite safety, or rather the lack of, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic).

Chow said as it was a worksite safety incident, it would be left to the Department of Safety and Health (DOSH) to make an announcement on its findings.

“DOSH is the authority on worksite safety. We will wait for the final report by DOSH and then make the appropriate decisions based on its findings.

“The state has received two reports, one from the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the other from the special state committee investigating the Bukit Kukus landslide.

“The issues regarding the incident and project such as whether the same contractor would still work on the project or not will be dealt with after the DOSH makes its decisions public,” he said at a press conference held at his office in Komtar on Wednesday.

Chow hoped that once DOSH makes its recommendations public, the stop-work order would be lifted.

When asked if he could share some of the findings from the two reports he had received, Chow said DOSH was the authority on the matter, and as such, they would wait for the department’s official report to be announced.

He said, for now, the MBPP and special state committee probes were for internal use.

Nine workers were killed and four others injured in the landslide at the project site of the Bukit Kukus paired road on Oct 19, 2018.

After five days, the search-and-rescue operation was officially called off.

The project is currently under a stop-work order by DOSH.

State DOSH director Jaafar Leman said the department had sent a letter to the present contractor to come out with a list of measures that would be in place on the project.

“It’s essentially safety issues and we have asked them to reply us on what and how they plan to implement the measures.”

Jaafar said there was no deadline given to the contractor, as the department did not want a rush job taken on the measures.

“It is good of the Chief Minister to give DOSH some space to carry out our work,” added Jaafar.

He said once the department was satisfied with the measures undertaken by the contractor, DOSH would discuss with the other parties involved and move towards lifting the stop-work order.


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