Penang landslide: The ‘elephant’ on the hill

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Graphic by a concerned Penangite

Some have described the politicians’ responses in trying to deflect the blame for the landslide down the line as “tai chi”. But a friend who practises tai chi told me that this ancient Chinese exercise for health of mind, body and spirit is too wholesome an activity to be used as an analogy for the blame game that is going on. So perhaps the elephant and the blindfolded men above might be a more apt depiction of the recent blinkered statements by those in positions of power.

The following is a response by Rexy Prakash Chacko, joint coordinator of Penang Hills Watch, a Penang Forum initiative, to recent quotes in a press report.

“Allegations that complaints were not attended to are untrue. In fact, action was taken immediately in accordance to the existing guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP),” Zairil told a press conference at his office.

I would like to thank Zairil for providing a detailed response to this particular case highlighted in the Penang Hills Watch 2018 report, 26 days after it was sent to his office.

We reiterate that we only got an acknowledgement (this was not highlighted in the news report) that the report was received by Zairil’s office. There was no response whatsoever to the contents of our Penang Hill Watch 2018 report or to our request to have a follow up meeting to discuss the cases highlighted in the report.

We really hope that this would not just be a thank-you-and-goodbye gesture but urge that Zairil, in the capacity of his portfolio, engage us in sincere dialogue by having a meeting to discuss the follow-up to the cases highlighted in the Penang Hills Watch report.

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In living up to the Penang state government’s CAT motto, he should be transparent in revealing what his team has done to address concerns in our report (not just this Bukit Kukus case but also the others which were highlighted in the report).

If indeed the task force has found non-compliance on the side of the contractor after the spot check on 8 October, how is it that work continued on site? And if monitoring was done right, was there any follow up on a constant basis to ensure that the contractor adhered to the mitigation measures as issued by the task force?

Monitoring is not a one-off action where a site visit is done and a letter is sent. It involves constant follow up to ensure that mitigation measures are indeed carried out. And in this case, it had to be immediate.

A visit to the stretches along the Bukit Kukus site on 22 October, 14 days after the spot check, revealed that along the stretch facing Paya Terubong, the hillside is exposed with no measures to prevent soil erosion.

Photograph: Penang Hills Watch

At several spots, rocks exposed by construction are insecurely perched on steep hill slopes, with no measures to prevent rock-falls from happening.

If indeed the measures that were highlighted in the Ops Lumpur exercise were carried out, where exactly were they executed and how is it that many other sites along the construction area still remain precariously exposed, contributing continously not just to soil erosion but also mudfloods, as the report has highlighted.

The previous Penang Hills Watch report, sent in September 2017, received no written response from the Penang Island City Council and only had a written response from the Seberang Perai Municipal Council. So we hope this will not repeat itself.

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As this is a citizens’s oriented initiative where information is sourced from the general public, the public has a right to know the status of the cases Penang Hills Watch has highlighted and what is being done to address them. We therefore hope that the current Penang Hill Watch 2018 report report will get given written responses from both councils and other relevant government departments.

“The observation was not near the location where the landslide had occurred. The project contractor also did not mention about the stream during our spot check,” she said.

The state government has mapped information of the tributaries of various streams that flow through the area, so it is not acceptable that they have to rely on the project contractor to know about the location or the existence of the stream.

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Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 12.16pm

What a spin from the writer. The picture shows exposed slope AND a bulldozer. It is an on going activity. The landscape will change every week. What does the writer wants? To plant grass?

fearless
26 Oct 2018 5.50am

I am truly amazed by the silence of the former CM who was good at telling others about their short comin… https://t.co/ynWf1BFnrs

tunglang
tunglang
26 Oct 2018 9.45am
Reply to  fearless

He’s no more Pg CM, washed his hands (cleaner of Penang hill clearing mud) than Pontius Pilate! So, CM Chow may still have to answer on his behalf like before!

Yinwai
Yinwai
26 Oct 2018 10.55am
Reply to  fearless

Ahhh, former CM of Penang ? His job is everyday sing in high pitch – NO MONEYS …NO MONEYS …NO MONEYS lor !
Considering the state only gets back 3% of federal allocation from the taxes (Penang) paying to PutraJaya each year !

Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 12.08pm
Reply to  Yinwai

You show us the £¢¥€. Money. Otherwise why disturb china and ecrl? Why ask gamuda to cut station. Now macc BC.

Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 12.18pm
Reply to  Yinwai

Fearless and brainless. Who is the chief of Penang? It is the CM!

Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 3.30pm
Reply to  Yinwai

You show us the £¥€¢. If have money high speed train, ecrl will go ahead. More top students will send over the seas

Shriek
Shriek
28 Oct 2018 7.56pm
Reply to  Yinwai

Why not you show us the money? If Penang gets 3℅ then why Kelantan, Perlis and eastern part of the federation just like why Penang has different races?

Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 8.10pm
Reply to  fearless

You don’t understand the meaning of chief of minister of Penang? Pg lang do not pay Penang chief his salary?

fearless
26 Oct 2018 5.53am

Dedicated to former CM and erstwhile sidekick, The Sound of Silence (Original Version from 1964)… https://t.co/LNdxpBJ8gd

Huzir Sulaiman
26 Oct 2018 6.32am

and u all still vote PH. Congratulation.

Wei
Wei
26 Oct 2018 9.39am
Reply to  Huzir Sulaiman

still hundred times better than Be End…

just a little landslide here and there…nothing to worry lar…hehe

Misanthrope
Misanthrope
26 Oct 2018 1.23pm
Reply to  Wei

Well done. You’ve just belittled the deaths of scores of migrant workers by saying “just a little landslide”…. If you’ve got the … you should say that to someone’s face. — But something tells me you’re just a — little apek — who hides behind a keyboard.

PenangFirst
PenangFirst
26 Oct 2018 3.52pm
Reply to  Misanthrope

This person has been trolling. Probably from Be End actually, and might be here to stoke more anger towards Penang goverment.

Wei
Wei
26 Oct 2018 4.23pm
Reply to  Misanthrope

i think idiots need to learn to read…
of course any normal person will feel sad about this tragedy unlike the NGOs who seems so excited to capitalize on their death..

tunglang
tunglang
30 Oct 2018 10.04pm
Reply to  Wei

Pls spin harder!!!

tunglang
tunglang
26 Oct 2018 6.41pm
Reply to  Misanthrope

A clone of Shriek or a Shriek wannabe! hehe.

Shriek
Shriek
26 Oct 2018 7.36pm
Reply to  tunglang

You mean no freedom of expression and think? You are orso another spinner.

Wei
Wei
26 Oct 2018 9.45pm
Reply to  tunglang

and you ? clone or wannabe of lim mah hui?

tunglang
tunglang
27 Oct 2018 11.31am
Reply to  Wei

Pls work harder!!! Why not shriek???

Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 3.26pm
Reply to  tunglang

Ah pek you spin harder. Go to east coast and practise more on gazing. My comments are hold up, delete or delay by anil just because truth can orso be viewed from another angle

Shriek
Shriek
28 Oct 2018 8.22pm
Reply to  tunglang

Why not you represent east coast as a top spinner? Just because people has different views he must be shriek? Only spinner makes accusation.

Shriek
Shriek
26 Oct 2018 7.34pm
Reply to  Misanthrope

Who is the designer? Why the piers are buried in deep fill? Has the bridge designer consulted his geotech engr and soil scientist only good in cultivating bacteria up 1 foot top soil for advice on slope failure? In short why pg forum barks? Is that the final design terrace? Has this been signed off by professional practicing geotech engr? If not why has the supervising check on contractors work method statement? If the terrace is temporary has it been certified by the contractors engr? In the end, pg construction standard is only kampong level. Look at China build the… Read more »

Shriek
Shriek
27 Oct 2018 8.22pm
Reply to  Misanthrope

You mean you do not know construction is a hazard occupation? Beijing construction co drop its load from a tower crane onto a pg lang sometime ago. There is a national construction board and everyone enters a site must attend a safety induction and had a card. Maybe pg safety is kampong level and has long way to meet best practises. Orso there are certified practising engineers and checking engineers. Accidents happen because someone do not follow the steps along the way. Why Malaysia has a board of engineers? Because professional engineers in Malaysia are ranked similar to a practising… Read more »

Heng GS
Heng GS
27 Oct 2018 10.34am
Reply to  Wei

How does Wei he he sound like? Could be angelic in tone? Why not post your he he sound.
From shrieking to he he Wei, AnilNetto.com a justice for all voices, keep it up!

Shriek
Shriek
28 Oct 2018 2.37pm
Reply to  Heng GS

Real spinner and gullible. Wanna to be north Korea? In demo cracy, people have right to opposing views. Pg forum views do not mean to be right. There is always a trade off. Current roads are more than its max servicing levels. People are spending their sitting in the cars. Same with buses. This means pg lang lives are not productive. More time on roads, we are burning more fuel and heating up the earth. Now petrol price is going up too.

Wei
Wei
29 Oct 2018 11.07am
Reply to  Heng GS

no lar…where got angelic…the holy penang forum and its flock of fans are more angelic lar..hehe

tunglang
tunglang
30 Oct 2018 8.00am
Reply to  Wei

How fast you have learnt from Najib the art of self depreciation to attract sympathies!

KMF
KMF
26 Oct 2018 11.38am
Reply to  Huzir Sulaiman
Heng GS
Heng GS
27 Oct 2018 1.21pm
Reply to  KMF

The post office in Mayang Mall will share same fate as former cyber library thereto move to less convenient location in the name of development for Jabil GBS office. Thank you YB SIM!

Shriek
Shriek
28 Oct 2018 8.26pm
Reply to  Heng GS

Post offices oredi share the same fate. Population increase but vol of mails reduce. Emails increase. Post office has to cari makan as a bill collector for road tax and utility bills

Wei
Wei
29 Oct 2018 11.10am
Reply to  Heng GS

why not?..it is good for business and good for economy..anyhow most people go to library for napping only lar….

Arnold
Arnold
30 Oct 2018 6.44pm
Reply to  Wei

My daughter used to study in the comfort of air cond library, quiet and less home distraction. B40 children can benefit better concentration studying in library. You are immature thinking every home can afford air conditioning. Maybe Sim also think like you, sadly.

tunglang
tunglang
30 Oct 2018 10.03pm
Reply to  Wei

So, you have done that zzzzzzzzz before in your school library to share your why not? experience?

Arnold
Arnold
30 Oct 2018 6.42pm
Reply to  Heng GS

Jabil must practise CSR to benefit the local residents. Your presence at Bayan Baru displaces the library and post office. Not good and incur wrath from residents, may affect the ‘chi’ of your business from feng shui perspective.

Arnold
Arnold
30 Oct 2018 6.40pm
Reply to  KMF

Sad indeed!