KUALA LUMPUR: The collapse of a two-storey building on a hillslope at the edge of Tasik Banding in Gerik, Perak, has Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu reeling with disbelief.
“I am shocked and I want answers,” said a furious Samy Vellu, who called for action to be taken against the contractor if it was found that structural failure caused the collapse.
It was fortunate that no one was hurt “but there must be some action,” he said.
On Tuesday, the building began to collapse at 8am and crumbled completely two hours later.
The collapsed structure – the first of a two-phase project under the Perak State Park Corporation – consisted of 14 rooms, an office block, a showroom to sell orang asli goods, and a car park. Completed in 2004, it was built at a cost of RM4.5mil with an allocation from the Tourism Ministry.
The second phase consists of 26 more rooms at the same site; the project costing RM5mil is also funded by the Tourism Ministry.
Samy Vellu said the project was not under Public Works Department (PWD) supervision, but since PWD is the technical arm of the Government, he has ordered the Perak PWD to conduct an investigation.
Perak PWD director Datuk Wong Wai Ching, who is leading the investigation team, said the probe would cover various aspects, including a landslide, which apparently occurred behind the collapsed building.
“I have directed Wong to submit the report to me so that I can brief the Cabinet and the Perak Government,” said Samy Vellu.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said the Perak State Park Corporation informed the state government about two to three weeks ago that the building was unstable, after which the PWD was called in.
“The problem happened over time. The corporation and PWD had tried to stabilise the soil to prevent the building from collapsing. It began to tilt two to three weeks ago,” he said.
Declining to reveal the name of the consultant and contractor, Tajol Rosli said the PWD’s initial findings pointed to a deficiency in design and construction.
On the authority that was supposed to monitor the project, Tajol Rosli said: “We will study the details of the contract and see who should be monitoring the project.”
Tajol Rosli said the state government would appoint a professional body to determine the cause of the collapse.
Perak Anti-Corruption Agency director Samsiah Abu Bakar said the ACA would also investigate the matter.
The collapsed building was to provide facilities for researchers going into the Royal Belum State Park for studies as well as for tourists on transit to visit the natural beauty of the park.
Established in 2000, the 117,500ha Royal Belum State Park contains the oldest tropical rainforest in the peninsula.
It is also home to at least 14 globally-threatened wildlife species, including the blue-striped beetle, the clouded leopard, the forest gecko, the Malayan tiger, the Asiatic elephant, the Malayan tapir, the white-handed gibbon and the Sumatran rhinoceros.
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