GEORGE TOWN: Police have opened a criminal negligence probe into the landslide that claimed nine lives in Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong.
Penang police chief Commissioner A Thaiveegan said in a short statement that the probe would be done from the aspect of lapses in safety.
He said a task force had been set up led by the state Criminal Investigation Department chief Zainol Samah.
Meanwhile, a federal minister today revealed that at least 42,000 tonnes of earth fell during last Friday’s landslide in Bukit Kukus on 12 container cabins with 13 foreign workers at an elevated road construction site.
Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran said the impact was so deadly that the force of the landslide was equivalent to 2,000 10-wheel lorries falling on the cabins.
“That is a phenomenal amount of earth and we regret that this has happened on poor construction workers,” he said after visiting the Bukit Kukus site with Penang government officials today.
He said forensic engineers of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), under his ministry, found, from initial studies, three likely causes of the landslide.
Kulasegaran said they were a lack of soil movement control methods, inadequate drainage to control the surface water run-off and not enough controls to check seepage water at the cut portion of the hill.
He said this was regrettable as the ministry had advocated a guideline on Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry Management 2017 (OSHCIM) for all contractors to follow.
Kulasegaran said the OSHCIM guidelines dictated that any construction site ought to follow a “design-out hazard” method to eliminate potential hazards, in this case, the maintenance of hill slopes.
On a different note, Kulasegaran thanked the Buddhist Tzu Chi Merits Society for providing meals and temporary shelter to rescue workers during the five-day search and recovery mission.