Danger still lurks at Bukit Kukus landslide site

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The streams at the Bukit Kukus landslide area - River map sourced from PEGIS (https://pegis.penang.gov.my/); satellite image backdrop from Google Earth

So… a body has been found, which was not listed as missing. What was he doing at the site? Was this an undocumented worker? And are there more who are missing? This raises the question of the status of workers in the construction industry.

Meanwhile, Penang Forum has just released this statement, warning that dangers still lurk at the Bukit Kukus landslide area. Did they really check for hidden streams in the area? And they still want to proceed with all these projects? What is driving them? Is it greed, pride, money or what? If an MPPP project can end up like this, how can we hope that the council can monitor other projects closely…

Penang Forum is gravely concerned about recent press reports of authoritative government agencies warning of signs of soil instability and more landslides within the area of the 19 October landslide at the construction site of the Paya Terubong paired road in Bukit Kukus.

In a press interview on 21 October, the head of the Perlis, Kedah and Penang Department of Mineral and Geoscience, Azhari Ahmad, pointed out that his team on-site encountered a natural stream flowing downhill.

Indeed our desktop investigation using geographic information system (GIS) mapping of the river system in the vicinity of the area reveals that there are possibly two streams that flow westward down the slopes of Bukit Kukus, as shown in the map at the top.

The stream that En Azhari’s team encountered is probably Stream 1 in the map. Only personnel authorised within the restricted zone of the construction area can ascertain if Stream 2 does indeed exist.

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Azhari explained that “due to its (the stream’s) shallowness, when it rains, the water can become swift and overflow into the nearby area” – hence, the fear that excess run-off from rain can further compromise the stability of the exposed slopes in the vicinity of the landslide that already occurred.

Azhari’s statement underscores the fact that innocent-looking small streams should not be dismissed as inconsequential in hillside development. We should not be underestimate the forces they can unleash after a rainstorm. The lesson from the collapse of the embanked road in Tanjung Bungah less than a year ago (see images below) seems to have been lost on our authorities.

Graphic: Penang Forum

Back to Bukit Kukus, the photo below depicts our observation of the landslide event upon closer examination of photos taken on 19 October 2018.

Graphic: Penang Forum

The bold red dashed line roughly outlines the extent of the landslide. The lower portions of the two pillars exposed by the landslide are covered with soil.

The magenta dashed lines roughly mark the two terraces and two slopes before the landslide occurred.

The remaining terraces and slopes are visible in the area marked with the yellow dashed line. There is still a risk that this area may collapse at or after the next heavy rainfall.

Azhari further said, “For now, we have managed to divert the water flow from the stream to elsewhere.”

Mark the words “for now” – for a temporary diversion done in a morning surely cannot be a long-term, even a middle-term, workaround for such an extensive area of steep slopes rendered completely barren. We can only hope that the temporary diversion of the stream above this site can help somewhat in preventing further slope collapse while the search and rescue operations are ongoing.

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Already, in his interview with TV1 late on Sunday evening (21 October), Penang Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohamad Shoki Hamzah revealed “ada berlaku sedikit gerakan tanah” (a bit of soil movement has occurred) and “tanah di tebing kami dapati dah renggang dan… runtuh” (we found soil at the banks had moved apart and … collapsed).

Let us really pray that Mother Nature takes kindly to the valiant efforts of all on-site personnel to search for the missing and does not unleash another downpour to further destabilise the landslide area until after the search and rescue efforts are safely completed.

Penang Forum
23 October 2018

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X Man
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X Man

It is now very dangerous to live in homes near Hill slopes in Penang.
Never buy new homes near Hill slopes!
Don’t be deceived by developers.
Keep Penang hills in pristine condition!

Norman
Guest
Norman

True, the developers will not tell you if there is a little stream running through the hilltop – landslide time bomb is ticking when the rain comes.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Developers are not the contractors. The developers employ people like you to go to site and work. There are site engrs, site supervisors, safety officers structure enginneers look at the steel b4 pouring concrete. Structure engrs checking orso tutup mata??

M Pillay
Guest
M Pillay

X man has vision beyond 2030 so we have to be very alert during home purchase.

Wei
Guest
Wei

on one hand bashing the developer on another hand look to more house buying….hehe

Ho Wan Lai
Guest
Ho Wan Lai

Not all developers are greedy so choose the responsible one. By all means avoid hilly or near sea area.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

How many flat land pg has? If cannot build on hillslopes and orso cannot reclaim from sea, pg forum no object to clearing the jungles?

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Pg forum only for Penang island. Who like in flat land seberang? Pg island where to find not hilly land? Flat land hardly any more available.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Like tunglang living in high rise condo? Scream at developers on the other hand buy and live on what developers made profit while our Wong fei hoong heritage foreigners are buying.

Ho Wan Lai
Guest
Ho Wan Lai

Ops Lumpur came a bit too late to prevent tragedy?
http://m.thesundaily.my/node/586158

Subsequent Ops Lumpur should now be enforced strictly and promptly with KPI updates especially for hilly folks (tribes?) To live in peace without having to listen to developers sweet talking.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Recall 18 May 2015 Article: Before the Naga wags its tail in our face again https://anilnetto.com/environmentclimate-change/before-naga-wags-its-tail-in-our-face-again/ This story is by blog visitor tunglang: November, 1997 – There was excitement circulating in the air about a wonder of Nature in Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong: a newborn natural waterfall @ Sun Moon City (low and medium-cost apartments). I couldn’t believe my ears; so I went to investigate one fine afternoon. Seeing was believing. On a slippery cliff of dark granites, a multitude of small waterfall streams danced down from the heavens. Envy filled my mind:“How lucky you folks are at Sun Moon… Read more »

Norman
Guest
Norman

CAT must now take seriously “tunglang’s Book of Revelations”!

More prophecy soon from tunglang?
Could the ‘missing library’ at Bayan Baru come back to haunt PKR’s Sim?

CM Chow must be nervous to read that CAT could be skinned alive in GE15.

Heng GS
Guest
Heng GS

If there’s local plan the skinning now surely inevitable as last 2 days and right now raining cats and dogs very worrying for many living near the hills after what has happened in T Bungah and Bukit Kukus!

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Bukit Kukus soil structure not appropriate for development, says expert https://malaysia.yahoo.com/news/bukit-kukus-soil-structure-not-073630288.html GEORGE TOWN: If the Bukit Kukus paired road project has proceeded as planned, it would spell greater disaster, Universiti Sains Malaysia Landslide, Disaster Management and Soil Erosion expert Professor Dr Habibah Lateh warned today. Habibah said this was because, the soil, used particularly to fill the site, was not suitable as they comprised sandy soil. She said the bedrock structure at the site further worsened the situation as the hill comprise granite stones. The composition of the granite stones, upon chemical weathering, would form sand and mud, making the… Read more »

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Contractor and engr consultant take short cut. Why consultant engrs did not carry slope stability checks?
Blame why high slope for terracing is allowed if there is no certification from professional engineer? Did professional engrs carried out check?

Heng GS
Guest
Heng GS

Bukit Kukus should be preserved to become tiger park for free roaming big cats (not meow meow cats) in the very first, to protect our national icon like what China proudly propagating pandas.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Another blind man follow spinner. Sand will not form when Granite under chemical deposition. Otherwise there will be sand all over in all the granite hills and mountains.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Who is barking at the wrong item? If that is the case, who ignore the basic and fundamental law? Water needs to flow and how come it is blocked? Did the designer provide a permanent drainage? Did the contractor provide a temporary drainage? A water diversion? Or contractor tried to cut corners and supervising engineer tutup mata? If they have been carried out hill watch and ah pek will not kau beh kau bu.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

“We are also unsure if the project can go on or otherwise because the report has yet to be completed. What I can say is that FOR NOW THE PROJECT WILL GO ON until a final decision is made later.” State Public Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari Tonight, it rains very heavily. Are you so sure there will be no more landslides / mudslides to warrant FOR NOW THE PROJECT WILL GO ON just b’cos as an excuse a final report is not at hand to help make a final decision? So sure to take… Read more »

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Good tunglang now blame acts of god the rainfall for the landslide.

Ma jiji
Guest
Ma jiji

How come we have such half-past-six “consultant” to decide for our fate ???

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

MACC, pls investigate those in the project approval team. Freeze their bank accounts during investigation. Just do it now!

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Why shout here? Shout in macc office? No rapid bus bring you there? Spinning empty air here.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Pls try harder or go on hehehe!

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Ah pek don’t simply spill. Any trace of corruption? Then call macc. Otherwise ah pek can call macc to freeze everyone’s account. Everyone will try to take short cuts including sellers, manufacturer. So call macc?

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Why don’t ah pek lodge? Only good in shouting here? Ah pek cannot see the difference between macc and polisi. Corruption and crime. Only spin and talk like Godfrey vacuum cleaner.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Most pg talents cari makan outside. Left only half past 6 engrs

Wei
Guest
Wei

yeah agree, all hill side and hill slope building must be torn down. let’s start with Tanjung Bungah where the “upper” class and presumably very concerned with environment protection stay. the whole area should be turned into a public park.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

And the previous 2 terms CAT gomen under Niao Kong should be held responsible for tearing down all hillside buildings as it was under their fast-track approval. Wrong???

Wei
Guest
Wei

why stop at fast track approved project ? all houses must go..including the houses of members of Tanjung Bungah Residents Association…

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Yes, Pg state gomen must compensate members of Tanjung Bungah Residents Association for tearing down their homes with new homes & inconvenience costs, if no money can ask Finance Minister, an ex-Pg CM as his hands are stained with Pg saga mud.

Norman
Guest
Norman

CM Chow must be brave to stop more hillside/hilltop housing development on Penang island. Instead he should get the developers to switch to Prai where flat land is aplenty. Else his administration will face strong challenge from the revitalised Gerakan and MCA to profit from disgruntled voters.

Wei
Guest
Wei

still got the cheek to ask for compensation?
These selfish residents that paid the developer to build their big bungalows should be made to pay for destroying Tanjung bungah’s natural environment…
you think one hand can clap ar ?

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Like ah pek buying and living in a condo

Ho Wan Lai
Guest
Ho Wan Lai

State policies should fast track B40 to achieve higher income through improved productivity and learnings, so as to be able to cope with rising cost of living instead of enriching the existing T10, we need to develop talents not sorely infrastructures turning into white gajah.

Retired Teacher(s)
Guest
Retired Teacher(s)

Develop talents…thru learning…read more books not Facebook’s…access to loan books from libraries…but where is Bayan Baru Library YB SIM ?
YB I like to grow vegetables but no land in my modest home, to grow at balcony I need to read but there is no library to borrow gardening books, get the points??????

Wei
Guest
Wei

you want to read…do it online lar…why you need library when the whole universe is digitalised now…not to mention the carbon footprint left behind for physically going to the library..later complain about traffic jam pulak…when government want to built road…then you complain about over development..

Timang
Guest
Timang

Library good for B40 kids can study in air cond, quiet. Wei must be from rich family cannot empatise.

Wei
Guest
Wei

you don’t seems to be aware that air conditioner is bad for the environment..
i would let the holier-than-thou NGO and its fans to condemn you..

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

How can he empathises when he’s always he he he he!
But my instinct tells me he’s Shriek in disguised troll!

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Tunglang spin against. I have written response but anil is cutting my comments and put them up after fee weeks.

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Now people are clamouring for a library building. Tunglang and others are opposed to having more buildings. They opposed having more development,

Kim Koon
Guest
Kim Koon

No need new building for library,

Just rent one of the empty units at D’Piazza, as suggested by one reader before.

ZAYN CHVRCHES
Guest
ZAYN CHVRCHES

Reading air con room with daily multilingual newspapers and fortnightly Buletin Mutiara, 3 computers is not much to ask for from voters to appointed adun leader.

If Khoo Salma can realize the hopes of Bayan Baru for a reafing room then many can vote her as New Mayor for south west Penang Island.

tunglang
Guest
tunglang

Cheers Kopi-O kau kau!

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Irrelevant as subject allowed, but related subject but opposing views not allowed or only moderated after 1 week of posting

Shriek
Guest
Shriek

Library need books. Books come from trees. More books more trees to be chop off. More chopping pg forum and tunglang will orso give chopping

Kim Koon
Guest
Kim Koon

That YB who deny residents library should be dropped!