Ex-gratia for injured journalist

THE Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will meet an eatery customer who injured his left thigh and left hand after falling into a manhole in Kimberley Street, George Town.

MBPP has come forward to assist Richard Ang, 62, including in matters relating to ex-gratia.

In a statement, MBPP said the drainage system upgrading project in Kimberley Street was to reduce the impact of flash floods around Kimberley Street, Kuala Kangsar Road and Cintra Street.

“The main component of this project is upgrading of the existing drain from a size of around 450mm wide to between 750mm and 1,200mm wide.

“Apart from that, a walkway will also be built on the upgraded drain.

“The RM317,000 project began on March 8 this year and is expected to be completed on Oct 16,” the statement on Tuesday read.

On Sunday, Ang went to buy dinner at one of the shops along the road where upgrading works were being carried out when he fell down.

“Construction materials are scattered along the stretch where upgrading works are being carried out on both sides of the road.

“Although there are signs to indicate construction works are ongoing at both ends of the road, there is no warning sign in the middle area to caution the public that the place is off-limits.

“There are also scattered materials along the constructed pavement. I couldn’t go across and the manhole with the metal cover was the only way to get to the shop.

“I stepped on the manhole which I thought was already stabilised.

“It gave way and I fell into the 1m-deep drain,” said Ang, a part-time journalist at The Star who was on duty that day.

MBPP explained that Ang stepped on the fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) plates that had not been completed on site.

“The work on the site is still underway and at the same time business is continuing at the premises nearby.

“In order not to affect business activities in the location, MBPP has provided space for the public to have access to the area in front of the premises involved.

“During the implementation period of this project, MBPP and the contractor have ensured that all works carried out, especially involving the preparation of openings to drains, will be closed immediately.

“The location where the incident occurred shows that the FRP plate installation work has not been completed and the area around the plate needs to be concreted.

“This work is carried out in stages and usually takes a few days to complete but the opening to the business premises in front of this project still needs to be provided,” it said.

MBPP also advised the public to be careful when moving around the area.

“We will constantly monitor the situation at the site and take action to ensure it is in safe condition,” the statement read.

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