Another landslide in Penang, more lives lost (updated)


The latest landslide to hit Penang at 9.15pm – at a construction site near a small private school and the Lost Paradise Resort, close to the beach along the northwestern coastline of Penang Island on the way to Batu Ferringhi.

Again, it is the faceless migrant construction workers who bear the brunt of the tragedy – four Myanmar nationals are believed to be missing, though there might be others – just as in the two other landslides in 2018 and 2017, when nearly all the fatalities were migrant construction workers.

Migrant workers were believed to be living in shacks or containers around the site. Reports say they were building a retaining wall (see video above) at the site below the winding road around the island. (The city council later said the work had not received a permit.)

Our hearts go out to the families of all those who lost their lives.

Many questions will once again be raised in the days to come, not least about the wisdom of carrying out construction work on or near the sensitive hill slopes of Penang Island.

How effective are existing hill-slope development guidelines, hill-slope monitoring, enforcement (including against illegal construction) and prosecution?

Update: The tragedy also highlights concerns about the road leading to Batu Ferringhi, where high density property development has been approved over the last decade (beyond what the Penang Structure Plan had allowed?) leading to extra traffic load on the road.

In 2015, I blogged about an engineer residing in Batu Ferringhi who warned about cracks that had appeared further down the road leading to the beach hotels. Some of the slopes between the road and the beach below are steep, almost like cliffs. I wrote then: “Residents worry that the supporting infrastructure (eg roads) will be unable to cope with the higher density.”

This puts into the spotlight all those disturbing and stubborn plans for a mega highway (tunnelling through the hills along certain stretches), “paired roads” and relentless property development along the risky sensitive hill slopes of Penang Island – despite knowing the serious risks.

Will we ever learn? Or will it once again be business as usual on the hill slopes once the news fades away.

The following is a statement from Sahabat Alam Malaysia and the Tanjung Bungah Residents Association:

Authorities must inspect and monitor all works on slopes

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association (TBRA) express our shock and alarm at yet another tragedy in the Tanjung Bungah area, near the Lost Paradise Hotel which has claimed four lives yesterday.

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has stated in a press statement that the tragedy was the result of the collapse of a retaining wall under construction at the site – which did not have any approval from the authority.

It is indeed shocking that no approval from the MBPP for the retaining wall construction was obtained by the owners who allowed the earthworks, which appeared to be going on even in the late evening.

Clearly, no lessons have been learnt from the tragic Granito landslide tragedy that happened on 21 October 2017.

SAM and TBRA call for an immediate investigation by the Penang state authorities, including the MBPP into this tragedy – and not just treat it as just another work-site incident.

The owners responsible for this fatal event must be taken to task for violating the laws and stern action must be taken with strong penalties imposed, unlike in the Granito case, where the contractors got off with a mere RM35,000 fine.

What is also clear from this tragedy is for the authorities, especially the MBPP to take proactive measures by monitoring and inspecting all earthworks activities on the island, especially in erosion-prone areas such as in Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringi and Teluk Bahang as well as in other parts of Penang.

The MBPP must not wait for complaints or tragedies to happen before taking action, when it is dutybound to act to ensure that the laws are being complied with. Otherwise, more lives will be lost in vain.

Meenakshi Raman is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia and chairperson of Tanjung Bungah Residents Association.

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Landslide is happening while Penang is having the world’s longest water slide slide in August?

Hopefully no slide in Penang economy.


it is great that the state government is trying hard to promote tourism in the state to help the economy, despite sabotage by you know who NGOs …..hehe


If such a ‘small’ quietly done construction could lead to deaths, what more to expect from a massive hill + land development of PIL1 cutting across hills, inside hills & over hills + valleys. Don’t tell us you can monitor & assess work sites 24/7/365 by your safety assurance of work expertise in your revelation of engineering precision process of blasting every inch of the tunnel. You can’t even take care of every inch of Jalan Tanjung Bungah & cracking Jalan Batu Ferringhi, what is there any assurance of the dangerous & ominous PIL1 highway to (hell?)??? You can always… Read more »


‘small’ quietly done construction employed illegal foreign workers to save cost, can surmise that it has also ignored safety factor in design, possibly used unqualified contractor, leading to tragedy.


High possibility of many more of such illegal constructions ‘hidden from view’ of enforcement + monitoring by MBPP esp. in the hills, private estates & even richie bungalows in Relau hills (off Jalan Tun Sardon). This one particular Relau hills where many super-high-end bungalows were built on by whoever & sold to richie individuals BUT has a problem of water supply which initially required hundreds of thousand Ringgit to build infrastructure (like water pumps) to connect water supply from lower areas to them by Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP). So, what these richie (alleged) did was to divert river… Read more »

Ma jiji

Qoute: [In 2015, I blogged about an engineer residing in Batu Ferringhi who warned about cracks that had appeared further down the road leading to the beach hotels. Some of the slopes between the road and the beach below are steep, almost like cliffs. I wrote then: “Residents worry that the supporting infrastructure (eg roads) will be unable to cope with the higher density.”]
Knowing fully well what real disaster is imminent, yet tidak apa ?


Pg gomen has been building more road to reduce the intensity. But Tu Lang has been moving out of heritage area and living outside and hence increase the density on road use age.


Obviously this unfortunate event is due to unqualified person were hired to do the job….. owner need to face the music..


Very soon this blog will report fatal road accident and blame CAT. It is an emerging pattern to run down the authority.



Otherwise nothing to do or say. Some just like to kbkb clearly for wrong reasons but to make themselves well known


Four dead after illegal retaining wall at Penang hotel collapses

In an immediate response, Penang Island City Council issued a statement to confirm that the construction work on the retaining wall was illegal.
“The illegal retaining wall works were conducted below the road surface of Jalan Batu Ferringhi and could not be seen from the road,” it said.

C’mon. This hotel is a public access area, so anyone could see what’s happening in situ.
Where is the monitoring? Buy more spy-drones to do the job while sitting comfy in aircon Komtar Tower?


Tu Lang kbkb again. U go and monitor? U want to be big brother to spy on every moves? Get drones and see what you do in yr HSE and see what renovations or how many screws you added to the wall or taken out? First who prepare plans for the structure? Who sign the plan? Your relative work for developer can do as he like without the certifying or inspecting engr?


Dear MP Ramkarpal Singh. I have high regards + respect for your unrelenting, unbiased fight for justice for DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock as well as for murdered Mongolian Altantuya. Now, will you not toe-the-line of DAP CAT to fight unobstructed for these innocent wai-lao who most probably have already perished in this freak landslide? And also for the recent lost lives at Bukit Kukus & Tanjung Bungah? Human lives are precious in the Eyes & Heart of God, so I do believe the same in your eyes & heart of justice. Now’s the time to be like your father,… Read more »

Switch Machine

More open letters to Penang YBs on Anil platform hopefully this can alert the authorities not to overlook and later find intolerable same excuses.


The initial euphoria of 308 was Hope, Passion & Purpose. Beginning with Penang to UBAH what was Ostrich leadership to make Penang a better liveable place where all can cari-makan + thrive despite being an Opposition. BUT what we Penangites saw was the beginning of ugliness in particular the tangoing with greedy developers leading to unsavoury botak-ing of hills & destruction of coastal beaches from north to east to further south. And in the name of cosmopolitan development, work site deaths were shrugged off & recalcitrants continue as if nothing ever happened. Leading with Absolut Vodka Arrogance, it played along… Read more »

Switch Machine

Penang Developers now not seeing rosy scenario ahead, but they have secured enough to sustain unsold units.

State revenues from condo development running dry.

CM Chow need to have plans todevelop local entrepreneurs to create and expand economic cake to take on the world and not to depend on past formulas.


Blame on today education. Everyone wants degree and after degree comfort zone unlike old days pioneer. With nothing and no education, they think better and work better. They take risk. Today, they can only give comments and kbkb.


Then, we see more peng land kia going to other places to work to put their skills to help other countries. Only filling in are immigrants to work in hospitality industry. Chip chip otherwise which tourist wants to come? Better go to LOS. More entertaining more sights and value for money.

Bunny Ducky

Problem is Penangites too overzealous to wipe out opposition parties … in the last GE such that Gerakan and MCA is no longer around.

Anyway Gerakan, PSM and MCA are pretty useless in Penang all the while. What we need now is a formidable opposition led by knowledgeable, principled and dependable people. But they choose to hide behind blogs and forums…