Tanjung Bungah landslide: Five REAL facts you should know (updated)

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Some purported “facts” are being circulated about the Tanjung Bungah project.

Here’s an alternative look at five critical issues:

  1. Was it really flat land before work started? We were told that “the project involved slopes with a gradient of about 20 degrees”. So how can this be entirely “flat land”? Show us the original ground profile in the planning and building plan – before any work started. Apart from the gradient, slope stability also depends on the subterranean geology, the height of the water table, what’s happening further uphill, any streams in the area, and any erosion or excavation or other work at the base. In particular, the “factor of safety” should be considered, ie whether the resisting forces are sufficient to counter the driving forces of the slopes.

2. The Pelan Dasar dan Perancangan Pemajuan MPPP 1996 is just a guideline. What carries legal weight is the Penang Structure Plan, which was gazetted in 2007.  The maximum residential density permissible for Tanjung Bungah is 15 units per acre as stipulated in the text.

Even if it is argued that Tanjung Bungah is in the primary corridor (someone during the previous administration had altered the graphic in the Structure Plan to indicate it is a primary corridor), it would be a maximum of 30 units per acre.

This project is for 980 homes in two 50-storey towers over several acres. The state government should tell us the density for this – using only the development site footprint excluding the hill slopes.

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Too many high-density projects are being allowed in the name of “affordable housing” when they are not even affordable to the low-income group. [How affordable are they really, when by most definitions, genuinely affordable housing should not exceed RM250,000.] The reality is the text of the Structure Plan only allows for a maximum of 15 homes per acre in Tanjung Bungah.

3. The project may have been approved by “19 technical departments” but many of them (eg landscaping, PBA, Tenaga, Communications and Multimedia Commission, IWK, Bomba and waste management) have no real bearing on the risk of building so near a hill slope.

4. The DOE objection should carry the most weight and should override all the other departments. After all, for several large projects, the state is happy to tell us that the project would only go ahead if there is DoE approval eg the controversial land reclamation in Tanjung Tokong. Here we have the DoE itself objecting to these massive 50-storey towers near a hill slope (unlike other low-rise projects nearby). So why was the project allowed to go ahead?

5. The fact that an active quarry above the site was blasting nearby should have been taken seriously as it would contribute to slope instability. The footprint of the entire quarry should have been considered and not the specific blast point during any one time. The DoE’s Guidelines for Siting and Zoning of Industrial and Residential Areas 2008 (Appendix B) page 57 specify a minimum buffer of 500 metres for quarrying and on-site crushing activity.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. The readers of this blog have all sucked into quicksand of landslide? All talks are now degenerated into speculative in nature, no facts pending outcome of investigation. BN-Umno find this a bliss to divert discussion away from national problems ahead of Budget 2018.

    • While we wait for this inquiry to unravel the truth & misdeeds no matter how long it takes, pray that no more landslides will occur in the interim which CAT Gomen & MBPP has to explain without anymore denials.

      Btw, any misdeed (like earlier approvals of projects near this landslide site) by the previous state gomen should be taken as an excuse (or cry baby of unfairness by authorities like DOE) to commit the same misdeed in situ knowing full well the danger? Isn’t it an irresponsible act with disregards for the safety of Penangites? Or is it more for money in tango with developers?
      Attention: Zairil Khir Johari (Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera and vice chairman of DAP Penang), pls explain as a self-claimed responsible CAT politician.

    • Zairil Khir Johari has stepped down as Football Association of Penang (FAP) president, and Penang has relegated to the Malaysia Premier League next season. Not sure if Zainal Abidin will be retained as coach. Penang developers should sponsor the Penang football team, like the China developers sponsoring JDT team to success.

  2. 5 Real Facts You Should Know About CAT Spinner, Troll & Shrieking:
    1) Spin ‘absolut vodka’ anything from personality of readers, fantasies, ugly facts (of CAT or Tokong), even irrefutable landslides.
    2) Knee-jerking at the slightest comments, critics, revelations, protests, judgement, etc.
    3) Tearing down Penang Lang as if Penang absolut vodka belongs to CAT Gomen, Tokong, greedy developers, CAT … machais.
    4) Trolling ah peks, 666, any person deemed a social media threat to Venerable CAT Tokong.
    5) Behave like CAT Tokong – Arrogant, Blaming, Confrontational, Never Admit Mistakes, Hypocrite & Habitual Spinning.

  3. Clearly shows pg forum and ah pek tunglang jumps and blame development on hillslopes. Remember ” I told you so”. They just jump and for self interest and agenda and blame game.

  4. Notice how on the first and second day, state government and MBPP vehemently disagreed that a landslide actually happened at the site! It gives me the impression that some of our high rank supposedly ‘public servant’ do once they reach their office is to ‘wash their hands’.

  5. Dear Anil
    This is a geology related failure. The slope is too steep for weathered granite.

    The Engineer had to design without encroaching neighbors land, in this case the neighboring jungle. What the Engineers overlooked is the geological features that doesn’t know of the land owners.

    Furthermore, for such steep slope, soil nailing should have been done the moment each slope is completed. Waiting till all complete and the planning is just a gravely mistake. Please refer Paya Terubung failure. Several studies has been done by Geology Dept from UM, UKM and others.

    Wonder if any geological mapping has been done for this project.

    This is definitely an incident that could have been avoided if only little effort and importance given to Geology and for a more comprehensive study.

    Hope no more mishaps like this and hope too the authorities take this incident seriously and bring all those non-responsible people and organization to answer for the death of these innocent people.

    God bless the diseased. May they RIP.
    Subra, Geologist

    • We must look at the approved plans. Is there a retaining wall or a permanent slope with benching? By the look of steep slope and covered with plastic, it does not look like a permanent slope. This temp slope has been there for some time. The construction of a basement based on news written could make matter worse. Temp slope could only last a short time.

      • Dear Shriek
        Agree totally. Wonder if we can get access to the Soil Investigation Report, Geo-technical Report, Design Parameters chosen for the Slope design, design drawings, etc.

    • Those data could be available but the temporary slope may not have records or as built dwgs if it is temporary for formwork purposes. The back analysis has to do some guesswork on the cut slope and depth profile using data from the SI.

  6. But the Penang development that got hit sits on flatter terrain (mild slope), just like Highland Towers. There are other condos next door, so are the Tg Bungah residences on the same gradient. The water run off came from higher up and not from this development downwards.

    Wasn’t it other development above the Highland Towers that caused the tragedy? Is there a PARALLEL?

    Identify the other development or the quarry activities above the Tg Bungah development and it’s effects..

    Has the quarry operations adhered to proper water reticulation and hillslope mitigation issues? Who are the quarry operators since before the DAP-led government era?

    CM Lim Guan Eng and the DAP Pulau Pinang should enlist the help of third party independent experts to gauge this.

    This development remains on FLAT GROUND . The quarry higher-up must be looked into.

    Were the protest all about NOT HAVING affordable housing to the lower income group amidst an exclusive enclave? It should include the quarry’s activities.

    Take a look at the TERRAIN in the photos and also look at where the QUARRY IS LOCATED.

  7. Land slide at Tanjung Bungah contributing factors.. Di bawah gorek untuk perumahan tepi bukit… Ha ha ha ha.. ditengah bukit pun ada buat civil ground works untuk perumahan, diatas bukit pun ada juga sampai jadi Bukit Botak…

  8. 5 facts you should know about kapitalism:
    – In this religion, the faithful must exploit things and people to maximise profit at the expense of everything else including their compatriots, future generations and the biosphere.
    – No government is immune to subversion. Ordinary people from the “cleanest” countries will admit that corruption is present though at a low level.
    – Every case of waste, inefficiency, incompetence, poverty, disaster, and even crime is an opportunity for business.
    – Constant and widespread exposure and insulting of crooks has some chance of controlling them, but this is limited by globalisation.
    – The false gods of prosperity will crumble within a decade or two, with no escape for anyone including the deluded high and mighty – to “Mars” or elsewhere. The propaganda sometimes mentions saving species, nature or the Earth. Earth does not need any help from humans, as proven in past aeons.

    • About 87% of the original Ulu Muda water catchment (under 100,000ha as of 1969) has since been reclassified as for logging. This is the official figure. If you run out of water, you can drink timber or money or “development”.

  9. Why DOE object to land reclamation? Our Engineer here tidak boleh pakai? The reclaimed land will sink into the sea? No it is the flora, fauna and narine. Similar to on land. DOE will leave slope failures to the Engineer who makes most noise here to ensure no slope failure using soil nail, retaining walls or ground anchors

    • BN cybertroopers including tunglang ah pek are all paid? Ah peks often spend time lim kopi but at computer can generate income.

      • Assumptions to spin or to character assassinate?
        What a cheap shot for more Komtar Dedak!
        Get Real. zoro turned Shrek! Correction: Shriek!

      • With 12 billion in pm depth, ah pek will try his lucky strike. Ah pek now abandon his belum Valley. All his big talk on the rain man.

      • Pls try harder than before. Before your Komtar Dedak runs dry for all the useless shrieking!

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