GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council has issued a stop-work order on works being done on a retaining wall at a beach resort in Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Penang, which collapsed and killed four foreign workers on Tuesday.
The stop-work notice was issued to the landowner on Thursday under Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974, said council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang.
He said the council had also lodged a police report on Wednesday so that the matter could be investigated.
“Right now, we are still working with the Penang Public Works Department to monitor Jalan Batu Ferringhi to ensure that it’s safe.
“The 50m stretch of road has also been maintained as a one-way traffic lane,” he told a press conference after the council meeting at the City Hall yesterday.
On Tuesday, four Myanmar workers were reportedly buried alive while constructing a retaining wall at the beach resort in Tanjung Bungah.
Yesterday, Yew said the slope was unstable due to digging activities and that the resort owner was building a retaining wall without informing the authorities.
Meanwhile, Penang Forum, a loose coalition of about 40 NGOs, has urged the state government to review its policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures on hillside development.
“In a span of less than two years, Penang island has seen three deadly landslide incidents – the October 2017 Tanjung Bungah landslide, the October 2018 Bukit Kukus landslide and this most recent one,” the coalition said in a statement.
The Penang Island City Council in its response said that it had a team to monitor illegal construction work but in this case, “the construction work was being done on a slope below the road and was hidden” and thus “not noticeable,” Penang Forum pointed out.
It also urged the state government to make it clear to landowners the responsibilities they had as “slope owners” and the right channels they should use to report cases of erosion as well as slope instability.
“We call upon the state to review its policies, guidelines and standard operating procedures in relation to hillside development.
“A moratorium on all slope development and highway projects over the hills should be imposed until such a time when the state has done a comprehensive check on all hill slopes, taken remedial actions and completed hill slope rehabilitation,” it added.