NGOs: Further landslides can be avoided


PETALING JAYA: Failure by the authorities to apply stringent protection on the environment and to regularly maintain hillslopes is an invitation to future tragedies, warn environmental groups following the latest Cameron Highlands landslide.

After two lives were lost in the incident at Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands, the groups said authorities must monitor all high-risk areas in the vicinity and take measures to prevent landslides or slope failures.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president Meenakshi Raman said despite the many landslide incidents in Cameron Highlands and its vicinity, clearly, not enough measures were being taken to prevent such tragedies.

“Often, we hear of landslides and slope failures happening following continuous rainfall not only in Camerons but also in other parts of the country.

“Rainfall is to be expected but that cannot be the primary cause of landslides and slope failures.

“For landslides and slope failures to happen and be triggered by continuous rainfall, there must be disturbances to the natural terrain in the area concerned,” said Meenakshi, who also called on the authorities to immediately investigate the latest incident and make public the findings.

SAM is also concerned as to whether any land-clearing for agricultural activities or other developments may have taken place as these need to be halted for protective and rehabilitative steps to be taken immediately.

“With the advent of climate change, heavy rainfall with increased frequency and intensity (is expected), it is high time that our authorities act with utmost caution and strictly control development on hill lands and highlands while carrying out more frequent monitoring and firmly enforcing existing laws and regulations.

“We should halt the conversion of hill lands and highlands and strictly control existing activities. Otherwise, we will be inviting further tragedies,” she said.

Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (REACH) president Dilip Martin said the landslide occurred due to heavy rain over the past month during the monsoon season.

“This is normal for the highlands, and is due to more rainfall during this period.”

The Public Works Department (JKR) used to clear trees on the slope and the drainage system said Dilip but he claimed it stopped several years ago.

“They used to do it in Jalan Tapah-Cameron Highlands but no longer.

“It should be done regularly so that we can see any earth movement or else the trees on the slope will get bigger and heavier. So when it rains, for sure a landslide will occur.

“JKR has to look into this matter seriously in the Tapah and Simpang Pulai routes,” he said.

Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail said the soil status along the accident-prone roads should be assessed by the authorities.

“This is because landslides along the Tapah-Cameron Highlands road happen frequently, especially during the rainy season and usually in areas with agricultural activities which involve land clearing,” he said.

Police have confirmed that two men – a lorry driver and a multi-purpose vehicle driver – were buried under Thursday’s landslide at Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley.

The latest landslide came on the heels of another that occurred on Nov 22, which caused part of Jalan Tapah-Cameron Highlands FT Route 059 to be temporarily closed at Section 62.65 to facilitate emergency works.

The highlands, a popular tourist spot, had seen many catastrophic landslides.

The most notable tragedies occurred in the Bertam Valley mud floods in 2013 and 2014, leaving several people dead.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Nation

Malaysian wildlife traffickers hit with US sanctions
Budget 2023: Discounts, vouchers and rebates to boost domestic tourism
Budget 2023: Stamp duty exemption for properties priced RM500,000 to RM1mil increased to 75%
Budget 2023: More needed to educate people on scams, financial literacy, says Fomca
Jho Low no longer on Interpol Red List? It's fake news, say cops
Budget 2023: National Scam Response Centre a step in the right direction to curb scams, says IGP
Budget 2023: GST not part of this year's plans, says Finance Minister
Budget 2023: Civil servants to receive RM600 Aidilfitri aid
Budget 2023: KJ welcomes funding, says Health Ministry will focus on five areas
Budget 2023: Govt targets 324ha of idle land to help boost food security, says Tengku Zafrul

Others Also Read