Neighbour fears for safety following Penang landslide tragedy

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 26 Jun 2019

GEORGE TOWN: A resident living in a three-storey house close to the landslide in Batu Ferringhi is trembling with fear, following the incident. 

H.M. Tan said he feared for his safety, as his home is merely 50-metres away from the site. 

"I moved into my RM2mil house three years ago after finding the place an ideal location.

"My family felt this would be our ideal retirement home by the sea and surrounded by hills," said the 48-year-old businessman from Kuala Lumpur.

"We are now terrified after learning about the tragedy. Our buildings are located close to each other, and we are worried if there is any effect to the soil stability in the area," he added.

On Tuesday (June 25), the bodies of four foreign workers were recovered, after they were buried alive at a landslide that occurred at a Batu Ferringhi beach resort. 

The victims were reportedly building a retaining wall prior to the incident.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia chairman Meenakshi Raman said now with the exposed cliff beside Jalan Batu Ferringhi, the authorities must ensure that the road is safe to use. 

"The Penang Island City Council and Public Works Department must assure road users that the road stretch is safe and action must be taken against those responsible," said Meenakshi.

The Tanjung Bungah Residents' Association chairman and Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) legal adviser also questioned how the project to build the retaining wall was allowed without prior earthwork approval. 

Similar views were shared by Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, who urged the state government to investigate and take strict disciplinary action against the departments liable for negligence following the landslide tragedy.

"Punishing contractors who are caught for unlicensed projects is not enough, the government must perform sting operations onto all hill-slope development sites to ensure soil erosion mitigation measures and safety standards are observed," he said in a statement on Wednesday (June 26).

Penang Gerakan chief Oh Tong Keong called on Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Latheefa Koya to investigate the case.

"The authorities must thoroughly investigate whether there is corruption and abuse of power, otherwise how would the contractor dare to start work without a permit?" he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Oh said the state government should also review the safety of all construction sites and added that they must be improved immediately if there are any shortcomings. 

Gerakan national Youth chief Ooi Zhi Yi said it was not the first time a landslide happened at Tanjung Bungah that has claimed lives.

"This shows that the follow-up action taken by the authorities in the previous events were not effective in preventing potential landslides.

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