Act against Penang city council, officers over Bukit Kukus landslide, says CAP

CAP has called on the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and its leadership to take responsibility for the Bukit Kukus paired road landslide last year.

GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) today called on the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and its leadership to take responsibility for the Bukit Kukus paired road landslide last year, after a finding that the council had been negligent in monitoring the project.

CAP president SM Mohamed Idris said the Penang government had the moral obligation to reveal what action would be taken against the city council for its failure to act and also against officers involved for their serious “dereliction of duties” which led to the landslide.

“This is no simple incident as nine deaths resulted from it. Very stern action must be taken against the MBPP, and that includes strong disciplinary action against the mayor and officers responsible.

“Otherwise, it will be business-as-usual in the MBPP as the officers will be allowed to go scot-free with impunity.

“This will also lead to nothing being done to improve the standard of supervision and enforcement of the laws relating to earthworks, construction and buildings, for which the city council is responsible,” he said in a statement.

Yesterday, an investigation committee set up by the state government had said MBPP had failed to hire a professional engineer for temporary works to design and supervise a proper temporary work site. The temporary worksite was created to allow heavy vehicles to lift beams onto the elevated road.

The team had also revealed that MBPP had given the responsibility to monitor the project to a consultant engineering company, which was also found to have failed to do its job.

On Oct 19, nine people died in the landslide at the construction site of the 5km bypass road connecting Bandar Baru Air Itam and Relau. The project is owned by the MBPP and two private developers, but is mostly being built by the council.

Idris said the Penang government must make public what further action would be taken and what improvements would be done at the MBPP to prevent further landslide tragedies.

He said the full report, not the excerpts of the report revealed yesterday, must be made public in the interest of transparency and accountability.

Yesterday, chief investigator Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the full report would not be made public as it was a document for the perusal of the state executive council and was bound by the Official Secrets Act.