Bukit Kukus probe might not be open to NGOs

The aftermath of the Bukit Kukus landslide which occurred on Oct 19. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang government official today said the high-level committee investigating the Bukit Kukus landslide would likely be restricted to government officials and selected experts after several groups expressed interest in standing as observers in the probe.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who is leading the investigation committee, said the purpose of the probe was to keep state officials informed of what had happened in the fatal incident.

On Oct 19, 42,000 tonnes of earth fell from a hill slope where an elevated road was being built to another terrace with 12 container cabins occupied by 13 foreign construction workers, nine of whom died. It took search and rescue workers five days to clear the 100,000 sq ft site.

The committee led by Zakiyuddin includes state executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari, an engineer from the Institute of Engineers Malaysia and another engineer from the state government.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the findings would likely be sent to the Board of Engineers for further action. He also said he would consider the requests from NGOs to be part of the proceedings to ensure transparency.

Zakiyuddin said the primary purpose of the committee was to establish the facts of the incident. He said this was different from a Royal or State Commission of Inquiry where all details would be made public.

“Please do not think this is a commission or more than that.

“This is just a formal committee to inform the state as an advisory body,” he told reporters after launching a talk organised by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department today.