Friday, October 18

Penang govt calls for indepth probe on landslide in Tanjung Bungah

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GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government wants a thorough investigation to be conducted by the local authority and government agencies on the landslide in Tanjung Bungah on Tuesday, which claimed the lives of four foreign workers.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said a report had been submitted by the Penang City Council (MBPP) and the Public Works Department (PWD) on the incident, at Lot 74 and Lot 98, which are privately-owned.

The preliminary report found that a new retaining wall was being built at the site by the land owner to replace the existing one, but without the permission of MBPP, he told reporters after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting here yesterday.

He said a thorough investigation should be conducted by the relevant authorities, including MBPP, PWD, police and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health before taking any action against those responsible.

Chow said the land owner had engaged the four foreign workers to build the retaining wall without seeking professional advice.

“The work (carried out by the workers) had caused soil movement and although it was not raining, the movement was enough to cause a landslide,” he added.

Following the incident, Chow, who is Padang Kota Assemblyman, said the PWD had been instructed to conduct a study of the slope along the 15-kilometre Jalan Batu Ferringhi to ensure it is safe.

The outcome of the study would be used to make recommendations for mitigation measures, he added.

He said a stop work order on the construction of the retaining wall had also been issued by MBPP to the land owner.

Meanwhile, Penang PWD director Shahabuddin Mohd Muhayidin said the landslide was believed to have been caused by soil movement and unstable slope due to construction work of the retaining wall.

He said the department would carry out work to stabilise the slope, as well as take necessary measures to prevent further erosion.

To facilitate the work, one lane of Jalan Batu Ferringhi , stretching 50 metres, will be closed for between three and four weeks, he added.

Four Myanmar nationals were killed in the landslide, which occurred at about 9.45pm on Tuesday near a resort centre in Tanjung Bungah.

The foreign nationals were said to have been hired by the resort owner to repair the retaining wall following soil movements which were detected in the area.

All of them were buried alive in the landslide.

The search and rescue operation ended at about 4.35am yesterday after all the bodies were recovered. — Bernama