Bukit Antarabangsa landslide: Why did it happen?

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Can anyone in the Klang Valley familiar with the Bukit Antarabangsa area tell me why you think the landslide, which buried eight houses at dawn today, ocurred? Three people are reportedly confirmed dead while several others are believed to have perished.

What do you think? Was it just a natural disaster or was it the result of environmental degradation?

Blog reader Selangor resident has few doubts:

Let me tell you why:
RAMPANT & IRRESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT!
That’s why!
DEVELOPMENT OF HILLSLOPES DISRUPTS BODIES OF WATER
– resulting in flooding, water shortage …
– in its worst form, soil erosion and landslides
– causing destruction of property and lives

We the folks of Ampang Hills have been fighting for years for the local government to be extremely cautious when they approve hillslope projects. It’s been 16 years since Highland Towers tragedy but it still continues. How many more lives?! We have been asking – haven’t the developers learnt from the tragedies … well, OBVIOUSLY NOT! It’s time we stop asking! It’s time the Federal Government steps in and put a full STOP to it!!

Our dealings with the past Selangor state govt were not fruitful as despite many appeals, they approved over a hundred questionable hillslope projects. (No need to wonder how they got approved ….) For more info on the latest case which we are appealing (this hillslope project was approved by the former Selangor state government just before the election!),  please visit this site.

And here we go again, after each landslide (Report from The Star):

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will not be issuing any more permits for hillside developments following the landslide tragedy at Bukit Antarabangsa early Saturday morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said this on Saturday at a press conference after visiting the tragedy site.

He also told developers not to lobby or pressure the Government for any building permits for hillside development projects.

Every time such an incident occur, we hear the same old familiar song, “no more development on hill-slopes”.  But everywhere we go, we see development on hill-slopes, don’t we?

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Xi Ah Mang
Xi Ah Mang
26 Feb 2009 6.44pm

There won’t be a tendency for white elephant projects for PR goverments, because they prefer to play safe, there won’t be no development projects at all.

Vic
Vic
7 Jan 2009 9.40pm

the landslide occured due to soil erosion made by human at the top of the hill…there is housing development in that area which maybe affect the soil stability of the hill…the middle of the hill has a row of abandoned housing project which is the main cause of the landslide tragedy pressing down the soil with a great force and forcing the soil to a long distance pushing the 14 bungalows…..most of the landslide occured not as great as this distance if not the abandoned project left there for many years…..

jeff
jeff
20 Dec 2008 2.03pm

Our world class university and college are producing quite many first class civil engineers judging from this tragedy, do not surprise me at all.

ASH
ASH
18 Dec 2008 4.34pm

As one who have lived in Bukit Antarabangsa for more than 5 years, we have vwitnessed the rapid development (eg Laman Oakleaf, Seri Ukay, Bukit Utama bungalows projects) around the area. We had chose to buy a property (a condo unit) here because 1) the natural surroundings; 2) we like the layout and size of the unit; 3) the reasonable price. We did have concerns about landslides but we were reassured by the relatively flat terrain, the analysis and opinion of an engineer and the developer (PJD Development) that the area and the building structure is safe and sound, otherwise… Read more »

wassup
wassup
10 Dec 2008 1.43pm

it’s true “no demand , no supply”. Calling my fren who reside on Hillside to ask about his reaction, still the same, ‘my house is quite far from the landslide prone area”.

Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.

jeff
jeff
9 Dec 2008 10.33am

Even our honorable director of science,technology and environment department is saying tragedy of hill slope construction is a common occurrence in Bolehland, nothing exciting about it, we citizens should not try to exacerbate it as a problem, sigh!!!

DPM already warned private developers not to FORCE government approve their project, he is serious about massive loss of Malaysian life caused by housing developers only.

Ian Teh
9 Dec 2008 7.18am

It’s the Malaysian problem of viewing money as more than just a nice to have element. If we start to place doing the right thing above making money, then we may start to head in the right direction. Until then tragedies like this will continue to happen and at every turn, politicians will make the right noises for a while before reverting to their approve-for-the-right-price approach.

bow
bow
9 Dec 2008 3.16am

The next action taken will be finger pointing among cabinet ministers.
Same old sandiwara again in Bolehland.

maj
maj
9 Dec 2008 1.40am

I say, leave the hills, jungle and forests to its rightful residents. Humans have no business living there.

tanagnes
tanagnes
8 Dec 2008 11.07pm

massive, tremendously massive land clearing in Melawati,hills upon hills are cut for upmarket housing in the neighbourhood of bukit antarabangsa pics taken from the ridge of bukit tabur in klang gate go to http://thetrekkers.blogspot.com

jeff
jeff
8 Dec 2008 6.48am

In theory elected officials are supposed to look after your interest, but in reality, local council and public employees are not elected but appointed in Malaysia. Who ever has the biggest “ringgit” sign will get their interests taken care of in this Bolehland! my friend…

Tehsin
8 Dec 2008 2.17am

Anil, Najib said it all here: “He also told developers not to lobby or pressure the Government for any building permits for hillside development projects.” What does that say? The gomen and authorities can be bought? what kind of lobbying and pressure? The housing laws also need to be changed because now all the developers do is take the money and RUN.The councils need to bick up and be CLEANED UP (The MPAJ also does not have a record of all the slope developments/sensitive areas to monitor.) So many things have to be changed. Attitudes, laws, enforcement. ENFORCEMENT IS THE… Read more »

arusa
arusa
7 Dec 2008 3.54pm

It is all very well to assign blame to government and developer’s greed for the environmental degradation that results in such forseeable disasters.

However if we do enough soul searching we’d realise what breeds such greed in the first place. Commenter silong is right – “no demand, no supply”.

Ikeda
Ikeda
7 Dec 2008 1.53pm

Politicians whether from BN or PR have penchant like to be seem as pro development, they will fulfill the request of developers regardless of what happened. We should ask Guan Eng about his position on hill slope development. Why there is a hill slope clearing activity going on? Tak takut mati kah?

Selangor resident
Selangor resident
7 Dec 2008 11.43am

To those who say: Don’t blame the local councils, govt, etc. it’s the buyers. Well, please be reminded that your local government are elected officials voted in by the People, to safeguard the interests of the People. They live off your taxes, money from the People. Therefore, it is their job to make sure the home you buy, along with all the certificates of fitness, which costs has been passed along to you, is indeed fit and sound. I hope this simplistic explanation is clear enough for some of you. By the way, according to the present local state planning… Read more »

DanielYKL
DanielYKL
7 Dec 2008 9.57am

Penang be warned! Especially the housing projects along Tanjung Bunga and Batu Ferringhi.

They said they use ISA as a preventive actions before it happens. Why can’t they do the same with hillside developments? It’s all about profits and making money! $$$$$$$$ and more $$$$$$$$

Fed Up from Bukit Antarabangsa
Fed Up from Bukit Antarabangsa
7 Dec 2008 8.28am

We live in Bukit Antarabangsa, very close to where the hill went down. Drive around the area and you will see one dodgy hill after another. Right from the bottom all the way up. There is of course the entrance, up the big hill, where there was a big landslide some years ago. Just look at Jalan Wangsa Lima. There is an apartment complex built on a slope with zero reinforcement,and the slope is crumbling into the road. We have alerted the authorities, written to them. They have done nothing. Not our responsibility, it is the developer’s. Rubbish, what do… Read more »

Angry Citizen
Angry Citizen
7 Dec 2008 4.08am

These BN … in their satanic quest for power and money have totally destroyed the fabric of the country by never enough plundering (nep) be it the people or the environment. Call for a snap election and vote these BN … out!

asia
asia
7 Dec 2008 2.36am

The land developers are technically inept and irresponsible.

Syidi
Syidi
7 Dec 2008 1.29am

Masya Allah…Pray to God. I think malaysian forgot about highland tower tragedy. No more precaution after that tragedy.

Gary Yeoh
Gary Yeoh
7 Dec 2008 1.28am

Disaster at Bukit Antarabangsa is neither natural nor environmental degradation. It is primarily a human created disaster. A google search on landslides in Hulu Klang will yield at least 4 major landslides before this recent one. The body count is frightening. I drove around Bukit Antarabangsa and was amazed at the amount of water on the roads up the various hillslopes and residential areas. What happened to proper drainage controls? There are also numerous sites where erosion have occurred and streams of water poured down from the hills at random spots. MPAJ must put a stop to further development. No… Read more »

We Can
We Can
6 Dec 2008 10.48pm

the woes of past Selangor UMNO/BN governemnt …..yes thecurrent PKR govt should investigate and hold the past goverment responsible ….

VOTE FOR CHANGE, VOTE THE OPPOSITION!

telur dua
telur dua
6 Dec 2008 10.27pm

One thing BN/UMNO can’t do is to pin this tragedy on the present State Gomen.

Mr Bean
Mr Bean
6 Dec 2008 10.20pm

If fraud could be proven, then the perpetrators should be brought to justice, jailed to deter others and help prevent future tragedies.

Don’t think it is a tragedy waiting to happen to others but not to you!

Mr Bean
Mr Bean
6 Dec 2008 10.15pm

You just cannot say “Caveat Emptor” and be done with it! Blame the buyers. It is not that simple.

Property developers and the myriad of government agencies responsible inter alia for issuing licenses, approvals etc all have a duty of care – both at common law and statutory.

It is only fitting that there be investigations into all these tragedies and if negligence could be proven than the solution would be through the court system for damages and compensation to families of victims.