PETALING JAYA: The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) has called for detailed investigations into the collapse of a retaining wall at a hillside residential development project in Tanjung Bungah during the heavy storm that hit Penang last weekend.
Its president, Tan Yean Chin, said based on observations, the wall at the site was part of the permanent works designed and endorsed by a professional engineer with a practicing certificate.
“Thus, detailed investigation must be carried out to determine the cause of failure to prevent or mitigate the event from happening again,” he said in a statement today.
He said the Penang government should take positive steps to adopt and implement recommendations made in IEM’s position paper titled “Updated Policies and Procedures for Engineering Control of Hillsite Developments”.
“The recommendations were prepared precisely to permit the identification and mitigation of circumstances that could lead to potential landslides and collapse of the retaining wall,” Tan said.
Bernama reported on Sunday that a sinkhole appeared after a road leading to the newly-built housing area in a project called Beverly Hills collapsed early in the morning due to continuous rain from the evening before.
It quoted Jasmand Ng, chairman of the joint management committee of the nearby Surin Condominium, as saying that the ongoing hill development projects were believed to be the cause of soil erosion every time it rained.
He said residents had expressed concern over the hill development projects in the vicinity, and those close to the hill at Solok Tanjung Bungah, as they feared the projects would cause landslides and floods in these areas.
Meanwhile, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar yesterday urged the Penang government to stop further hill slope developments to avoid landslides such as those that occurred during the storm.
He added that the clearing of trees from hill slopes would lead to the reduced capacity of the ground to absorb rainwater, leading to flooding.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Najib Razak also reminded the Penang government to ensure that development projects do not adversely affect the environment or worsen the situation.
On Oct 21, a landslide at an affordable housing condominium project near a hillside, also in Tanjung Bungah, caused the deaths of 11 workers who were buried alive.
The Penang government subsequently set up a state commission of inquiry, with town planning and geotechnical experts, to determine the cause of the incident.