Another construction site landslide, more deaths: When will we ever learn?

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Photograph: Penang Kini

So another landslide again in Penang.. this time about a dozen dead or missing at a construction site for the elevated Paya Terubong “paired road”.

The tragedy today comes almost a year to day after the 21 October 2018 landslide at the Granito housing construction site in Tanjung Bungah, which took 11 lives, mostly migrants workers.

It also comes just over a week after 14 large concrete beams fell down a slope in Jalan Tun Sardon nearby during the construction of the Jalan Bukit Kukus alternative road. A crane operator had allegedly accidentally knocked down one of the beams, triggering a domino effect.

In today’s disaster, the dead and the missing are likely to be migrant workers again. Are their lives so easily expendable in our constructions and road-building frenzy?

The landslide at around 2pm took place after a few hours of drizzling this morning. Mind you, it was not even a storm. I dread to think what would happen the next time it pours buckets.

No one can say the state was not warned about the risks of building highways (and highrise buildings elsewhere) along the environmentally sensitive landslide-prone hillslopes of Penang. Penang Hills Watch had highlighted what was going on in the area.

Meanwhile, over 17,000 Penangites in an online petition have opposed the construction of the RM8bn 19.5kn Pan Island Link highway, which involves constructing elevated highways and drilling and blasting tunnels through the hills of Penang. Will this mega project and other “paired roads” be steamrolled through as well, despite the obvious environmental risks involved?

Will those who came up with the bright idea for more highways and “paired roads” on our hillslopes take responsibility for this disaster? Or will it once again be labelled a construction work-site mishap to be deliberated at length by another inquiry?

READ MORE:  The scarring of the hills of Penang

As we mourn the latest loss of lives, perhaps it is time to reflect: when will we ever learn not to mess with Nature? What will it take for us to change course and adopt an environmentally friendlier approach that emphasises sustainable mobility?

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tuapekkong
tuapekkong
20 Oct 2018 8.28am

The main cause of that silly disaster is our Penang enforcement unit’s fault, it seems every single construction project in Penang did not observe the soil erosion mitigation plan. What sort of state administration is now we are having in PENANG ? What sort of contractors, engineers we are having ? Make sure no half baked green horns in such a risky infrastructure work ! I am very doubtful we should that road in future !
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/20/erosion-mitigation-plans-ignored-checks-show-projects-did-not-follow-sop/

Shriek
Shriek
20 Oct 2018 7.46pm
Reply to  tuapekkong

Pg is still kampong always want to follow heritage Wong hei Hoong style. Talented people left and making names in overseas. Follow old ways. Where is Li lam ty? Occupation health and safety.

tunglang
tunglang
21 Oct 2018 11.32am
Reply to  tuapekkong

PgCAT gomen is desperate to push thro’ PTMP at whatever cost, even if it means taking very, very high risk in hillside construction of controversial paired roads & probably PIL of bitter hill tunnels. It’s attitude of ‘build first, let em protest’ is now its trademark of indifference + arrogance + fast tracking of controversial projects by hook or by crook. And this demeanour has a heavy price to pay at the expense of safety of foreign workers as well as Penangites, not to dismiss the environmental price of more disasters in the waiting. Now you don’t have to wonder… Read more »

shriek
shriek
21 Oct 2018 7.10pm
Reply to  tuapekkong

We have kampong contractors and kampong ohs. Everyone wants short cut and save cost. No method statement by contractor for temporary works on hillslopes? Any certification by professional geotechnical and slope stability carried out ? Soil scientists tak pakai. Pg gomen and contractor cannot save cost. Contractor and design engineer must be professional. Where are the engineers for temporary works? Problem is pg forum and public barks because, construction safety is not implement. All kampong practice.

Nicholas Goh
Nicholas Goh
22 Oct 2018 4.29pm
Reply to  tuapekkong

Honestly, I am not dare to use that road in the future. I don’t feel safe at all when looking at the building structures … they all looks like lego toys …

Wei
Wei
22 Oct 2018 7.53pm
Reply to  Nicholas Goh

what !? you are thinking of using the road ? thought you are opposing the construction of this road, you should boycott it lar…whether safe or no safe…

hehe…memang cakap tak serupa bikin..

ZAYN CHVRCHES
ZAYN CHVRCHES
22 Oct 2018 10.34pm
Reply to  Nicholas Goh

There could be heavy price to pay for shorter route to air itam via paya terubong. Drive at your own risk if those perished are still restless. For goodness pls perform proper ritual there befitting the unfortunate ones to rest in peace mr developer

tunglang
tunglang
23 Oct 2018 8.21pm
Reply to  ZAYN CHVRCHES

In fact the downhill & winding narrow stretch of Jalan Paya Terubong right after the 3-road junction of Jalan Tun Sardon – Jalan Paya Terubong is jinxed & haunted for accidents & strange incidences of your cars suddenly going slow as if carrying more passengers at the steepest stretch of Paya Terubong (on the way to Ayer Itam) right at this junction. There was an accident many years back involving a busload of Taoist nuns? fatality at this jinxed junction.

IT.Scheiss
IT.Scheiss
19 Oct 2018 5.56pm

Good question “When will they ever learn?”

The Malay Mail reports:-
https://www.malaymail.com/s/1684631/three-dead-10-buried-in-penang-landslide

Over 10 years of Pakatan rule in Penang but are they any better than BN, when it comes to ecological and environmental matters?

Shriek
Shriek
19 Oct 2018 8.26pm
Reply to  IT.Scheiss

What can we expect when we move from third world to first world status? Good example is subang and airport. People like you moves from border and populate subang. Subang airport cannot expand and forced by migrants to nilai. Then subang are connect by highways. The famous kl tin mine by yap ah loy filled with rubbish to have more land. Not enough, they on hillslopes. Not enough if land land, seek hillslopes

Swee
Swee
20 Oct 2018 11.01am
Reply to  IT.Scheiss

I think both are equally cynical and full of …. They use green themes just as bullets to attack their opponents. Who do trust BN or Dap? It’s like asking who’d you trust with your personnel data, Facebook or Google.

Shriek
Shriek
20 Oct 2018 7.40pm
Reply to  IT.Scheiss

Pg lang always gave different way of doing things. No kl or Selangor forum but has pg forum

Nicholas Goh
Nicholas Goh
20 Oct 2018 3.44pm

Penang goment is too arrogant and they will never learn and will never listen to Rakyat …

Josephine Ratnam
Josephine Ratnam
21 Oct 2018 12.34pm

lesson: never buy a house at hillside in Penang. Too much risk, no guarantee from CAT.

ZAYN CHVRCHES
ZAYN CHVRCHES
22 Oct 2018 10.41pm

Sea land reclaimed condos also risky of tsunami tides.
The Star Property fair should have a open forum on such risks.

Heng GS
Heng GS
21 Oct 2018 5.44pm

A cat found alive, sending a message to developer association Penang that human have no 9 lives to survive.

Norman
Norman
21 Oct 2018 1.56pm

Former Penang assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu said the Paya Terubong landslide came as no surprise as the warning signs were aplenty but the authorities paid no mind to it.

The DAP’s Tanjung Bungah assemblyman for two terms, from 2008 to May 2018, said he had sounded the alarm many times during state assembly sittings, speaking out against hill development but his pleas had gone unheeded.

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 5.20pm

Why so arrogant?
Concerns over safety of Bukit Kukus repeatedly highlighted to state
https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/concerns-over-safety-bukit-kukus-081129031.html
“Enough is enough. We can’t have landslides as an annual event in Penang. “Many Penangites are already living in fear of the stability of slopes behind them. And the state should be accountable for their safety”.

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 12.33pm

No response from CM Chow, Y.B. Zairil (Exco – Kerja Raya, Utiliti Dan Tebatan Banjir), YB. Phee Boon Poh (Kebajikan, Masyarakat Penyayang Dan Alam Sekitar)???
Time (for them) to also learn to respond responsibly, promptly ala CAT.
NB: We don’t expect any shrieking at this time of tragedy & living dangerously.

PenangFirst
PenangFirst
21 Oct 2018 6.21am
Reply to  tunglang

Based on the statements made by the CM , you would think that he is the developer’s spokesman.

tunglang
tunglang
21 Oct 2018 6.00pm
Reply to  PenangFirst

Developers’ tango partner. It takes 2 to dance to the property play!

ZAYN CHVRCHES
ZAYN CHVRCHES
22 Oct 2018 10.38pm
Reply to  tunglang

No response? So typical the voted in ones. Like Sim Tze Tzin avoided talking about the promised BB library and instead asked Sunway Tunas Bukit Gedung folks to grow potatoes at their home backyards during lantern festival program.

Norman
Norman
20 Oct 2018 9.27am

A consultant civil engineer familiar with Ops Lumpur claimed that every single construction project did not observe the soil erosion mitigation plan.

He said Ops Lumpur was overseen directly by state exco members and enforcement officers were required to visit the sites.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/20/erosion-mitigation-plans-ignored-checks-show-projects-did-not-follow-sop/#Pmf6LHLJSMj7KlSo.99

Contractor is responsible but the state exco members are accountable.

Shriek
Shriek
20 Oct 2018 7.39pm
Reply to  Norman

You mean road accident kill many and minister responsible and take the blame?

Shriek
Shriek
20 Oct 2018 8.01pm
Reply to  Norman

That is kl or Selangor style. Penang has its heritage style. Must be protected.

tunglang
tunglang
19 Oct 2018 11.44pm

Penang landslide: We told you so, experts tell state gov’t https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/penang-landslide-told-experts-tell-143558265.html GEORGE TOWN: “How many more innocent lives must we lose before serious measures are taken by the state to prevent hillslope tragedies?” This was the immediate response of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Sam) honorary secretary R. Meenakshi following a landslide at the Bukit Kukus paired-road project site this afternoon, which has so far claimed two lives. One person was rescued, while 10 others are feared buried under rubble after tonnes of earth came crashing down onto their container homes in the 1.50pm incident. Meenakshi said the landslide in Tanjung Bungah… Read more »

tunglang
tunglang
19 Oct 2018 8.05pm

Y.B. Zairil (Exco – Kerja Raya, Utiliti Dan Tebatan Banjir), when will you ever learn??? Is this risk taking in the name of insane development worth the loss of innocent lives. Foreign workers are cheap to die for Penang’s frenzied dangerous development? You’d better pray for their lives. I tell you what – this is just the beginning of worst disasters to come in 2018 & beyond. I tell you what I saw in my recent vision – a more widespread landslide that hits the condos & flats below in the same Bukit Kukus hillsides. This is all I can… Read more »

Shriek
Shriek
20 Oct 2018 7.57pm
Reply to  tunglang

Where is tunglang rolling stones?

Kandasamy Surendran
19 Oct 2018 7.14pm

They never learn: human greed main cause

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 2.10pm

CAP: Penang government, council must accept blame for landslide tragedy https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/cap-penang-government-council-must-050714375.html GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government and the Penang Island City Council must accept blame and responsibility for their lack of oversight, strict monitoring and enforcement measures, all which led to the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy. According to the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), the state government and the local authorities could not say this was an ‘Act of God’ due to the rain. “One does not need to be an expert to know that if you leave steep slopes barren with no protection or stabilisation measures, it is bound… Read more »

tunglang
tunglang
21 Oct 2018 6.46pm

Maria Chin: Stop all hillside development before another landslide tragedy https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/21/maria-chin-stop-all-hillside-development-before-another-landslide-tragedy/ PETALING JAYA: Maria Chin Abdullah has called on the Government to immediately stop all hillside development projects to prevent further tragedies, like the deadly landslide in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Penang. “The October 19 landslide at the Bukit Kukus paired road construction site in Penang is a wakeup call for us to put a stop to uncontrolled hillside development in Malaysia,” she said in a statement on Sunday (Oct 21). She voiced her support for calls to implement a moratorium on all approvals for housing and infrastructure developments on hill… Read more »

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 11.43pm

Penang gov’t wants more authority over hillside developments https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/448240 You meant Pg state gomen has no authority over rogue developers, disaster prone + high risk hill developments & questionably-approved projects all this while when state gomen could conveniently or in a hurry convert hill land for ‘special project’ use knowing the high risks involved by being lack of authority??? All these years since 2008? My Goodness! So, after 2 tragedies, you now open your mouth to ask for more authority which btw is too late to amend for the loss of lives & the disfigurement of our forest. Or was… Read more »

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 7.17pm

Penang CAT Gomen & CM Chow, when will we ever learn from this cat painful tragedy? Don’t count on your 9-lives to stay arrogant & unwise! Badly-injured cat plucked from rubble of Bukit Kukus landslide https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/badly-injured-cat-plucked-rubble-103746755.html GEORGE TOWN: A ginger tabby used up one of its nine lives today after it was rescued from under the rubble of the Bukit Kukus landslide here. Although both its legs were broken, it was covered in mud and appeared almost lifeless, rescuers taking part in the massive search and rescue (SAR) operation extracted the feline from the debris and brought it to safety.… Read more »

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 7.11pm

Now’s the right time to start shrieking (after pleading numerous times) at Penang CAT gomen. CM Chow, I dare you to burn Pakatan Harapan Manifesto’s environment promises. Netizens up in arms over latest landslide tragedy in Penang https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/netizens-arms-over-latest-landslide-105049767.html GEORGE TOWN: Netizens have taken the Penang government to task following Friday’s killer landslide at the Bukit Kukus paired road project site. They have also demanded that the state government take full responsibility over the incident. Fatynn Suhaimi said: “Penang state govt (government), you guys should be ashamed. Better pay compensation.” As for Sharul Zaman, he posted: “Another failure project from Lim… Read more »

ZAYN CHVRCHES
ZAYN CHVRCHES
22 Oct 2018 10.43pm
Reply to  tunglang

Chow vision 2030 for green and family oriented Penang appears hollow in spirits now.

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 7.06pm

It could have been your loved one. Attarul’s last wish was for a thanksgiving feast https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/attarul-apos-last-wish-thanksgiving-094707186.html GEORGE TOWN: He was the sole breadwinner of his family in Bangladesh and he travelled to Malaysia to earn enough to support his loved ones back home. Three days ago, Attarul, 35, received his passport which enabled him to work legally in Malaysia and decided to hold a thanksgiving feast in his village in Bangladesh. That turned out to be his last wish as Attarul died in the landslide in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong, here yesterday. The search-and-rescue team found his body at… Read more »

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 7.03pm

Very sad.
Father inconsolable as he pulls out son’s body from rubble
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/20/father-inconsolable-as-he-pulls-out-sons-body-from-rubble/#D6ikBsjgDZQV9ct4.99

GEORGE TOWN (Bernama): It was Asman Hamid’s worst nightmare – finding the dead body of his own son among the rubble of the landslide here.

Asman, 62, an Indonesian, was among those searching for victims of the landslide in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong here when he found the body of his 19-year-old son, Samsul.

According to the victim’s aunt, Ramziah, when Asman realised it was his son he had pulled out, he hugged the body tight.

Norris
Norris
20 Oct 2018 3.19pm

Such project like bridge will claim human lives as sacrifice for the spirits. Pray!

ZAYN CHVRCHES
ZAYN CHVRCHES
22 Oct 2018 10.44pm
Reply to  Norris

Tuapekkong can forsee that

tunglang
tunglang
20 Oct 2018 12.06am

Is the EIA report for this paired road project valid for landslides & deaths? What say you DOE now for the sudden act of nature or for a miscalculation of EIA? Can PgCAT stand up to a thorough MACC investigation, possibly a corruption by parties involved in approval? Is this paired road hill project classified under ‘special project’ supported by safety, sustainability & weather change resilience measures / strict monitoring / considerations? How much of unnecessary risk are we prepared to stomach (after the fact of loss of lives for building this paired road) in the foreseeable future of disasters… Read more »

Shriek
Shriek
20 Oct 2018 7.59pm
Reply to  tunglang

Does ah pek know and read the EIA?

Shriek
Shriek
22 Oct 2018 5.27pm
Reply to  tunglang

Tung lang go and lodge report. You read and understand all the EIA ?

Michelle Quah
19 Oct 2018 6.39pm

More will come by with P link

shriek
shriek
21 Oct 2018 7.01pm

When death occurs in factories, MRT kl projects and road accidents, pg forum and public remains quiet. When dead occurs in road and building on hillslopes, condors appear.

Norman
Norman
21 Oct 2018 9.52am

You can have the best technology and safety SOP, but tragedy will still happen because if no enforcement, possibly due to corruption or cost savings.

tuapekkong
tuapekkong
21 Oct 2018 9.01am

It is a known fact that there are aplenty of illegal workers(at least up to 70%)working in the PENANG construction sites. Yet, the unforcement units are not keen to see to it ? [When asked about the workers at the site when the landslide occurred on Friday, Lai said they were not hired by the company ?] “They are not my workers or any of the sub-contractors’ workers. They could be from outside. I warned my sub-contractors about this issue two years ago……” Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/10/21/contractor-claims- misunderstanding/#E02fYO4jWcp7L5cX.99 “Two more “victims” are believed to be missing at the landslide incident… Read more »