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NGO blames Penang government for yet another killer landslide

Last Update: 19/10/2018

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 19 (Bernama) -- Penang Forum, a coalition of public-interest civil society groups, said it is upset over the failure of the authorities to prevent the landslide today at the Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road project site which has claimed three lives so far.

Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui said nature served its signal last week when fourteen 25-metre-long concrete beams crashed onto a hillslope but no action was taken.

"We do not know what actually happened here but certainly it shows the risk involved when you tamper with nature. Now we know that our monitoring capacity is so weak and this should serve as a wake-up call for the state government and they should not continue to say it is a construction site accident after this," he told reporters after visiting the scene of the landslide at Paya Terubong here.

A landslide occurred today at the construction site of the RM545-million Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road linking Paya Terubong to Relau, that killed three people, injured one person and buried alive at least nine people.

Lim said the incident happened exactly a year after the landslide at the Tanjung Bungah construction site that buried 11 construction workers.

However, Lim's colleague Dr Kam Suan Pheng, a soil scientist, said the soil erosion at Jalan Bukit Kukus is not something new as the matter has been raised with the authorities three years ago.

She said Penang Forum, through its Penang Hill Watch group, a platform for the public to complain about illegal hill clearing, submitted two reports to the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

She said the MBPP responded by saying that this is a road construction project and they are monitoring the works.

"If they are monitoring the situation, how could this incident happen today? The soil here has been exposed and covering the soil with only a plastic sheet will not stop the erosion when it rains," she said.

Penang Forum is an NGO of the civil society which, among others, aims to promote sustainable planning and development, economic justice, heritage conservation and environment consciousness. 




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