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Bangladeshi dug with bare hands to try and save brother in Penang landslide

 | October 23, 2017

Brothers came to Malaysia a year ago to work and used to send their pay to parents in Dhaka.

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GEORGE TOWN: Bangladeshi construction worker Muhammad Josim Rahman showed reporters the earth still under his fingernails as he described how he started digging away with his bare hands to try and save his younger brother after the landslide at the worksite in Tanjung Bungah on Saturday.

The 37-year-old man said he saw his younger brother and fellow construction worker Muhammad Monirul Islam, 26, being swept away by an avalanche of earth which broke off from the side of a hill from 10 metres above.

Josim said he, too, could have died in the incident but was lucky.

“Itu tanah sepak saya. (The rolling earth kicked me out).

“I started digging with my bare hands and screaming Monirol’s name, wanting to save him. But I could not,” he told reporters, breaking into tears.

“I cannot believe what has happened. Why didn’t Allah take me also?” Josim said.

The search-and-rescue efforts ended this afternoon.

Josim and two other construction workers, Gearsudin Sodul Haq (Myanmar) and Roni Fasla (Indonesian), escaped with minor injuries.

The collapsed pile of earth was 35m deep in some places.

Josim, who wore a shirt with mud marks, appeared weak and was consoled by his fellow countrymen and construction workers.

Monirol’s body was found at the same time as Malaysian Yuan Kuok Wern, 27, at 9.30am today. The two were the last of 11 to be found after more than 48 hours of frantic searching at the worksite since Saturday morning.

Josim said he and Monirol had come from Dhaka last year to earn a living and to help their parents back home.

They worked at different construction sites before starting work at the Tanjung Bungah condo project three months ago.

Josim described site supervisor Yuan as the “nicest guy” he had met. He said Yuan was genuinely concerned about the welfare of the workers.

The 11 dead are: Yunus (Bangladeshi), Huseinma (Bangladeshi), Rahman Abdur (Bangladeshi), Md Nur Alam (Bangladeshi), Mohd Monirol (Bangladeshi), Mohd Elyas (Myanmar), Rahmatullah Mohd Sidiq (Myanmar), Hosrin (Indonesian), Erwin (Indonesian), Raza Ali (Pakistani) and Yuan (Malaysian).

The Penang government will set up a state commission of inquiry into the incident to ascertain the cause of the incident.

It is learnt that the Bangladesh consulate in Penang will help with the repatriation of its nationals back to their hometowns.


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