Penang yet to learn from past landslides, says activist

Rescue workers at the site of last night’s landslide along Jalan Batu Ferringhi, close to Tanjung Bungah.

GEORGE TOWN: A vocal activist against hill slope development today criticised the Penang authorities in the wake of yet another landslide that claimed the lives of four workers, saying they have yet to learn from past experiences.

Meenakshi Raman, who is chairman of the Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association, questioned the lack of monitoring and inspection, citing a statement by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) that the construction work in the area had not been given the green light.

“MBPP, in a press statement, said no permission was obtained so our question is, why wasn’t there any periodical inspection by officers, especially at a resort where the lives of many could be affected?”

Referring to the Granito landslide of Oct 21, 2017 which occurred at the site of a housing project in Tanjung Bungah, she said it appeared that no lessons had been learnt from the incident which left 11 dead.

“Is the latest incident going to be another worksite incident like the one at Granito? Or will the authorities exercise their fullest powers to prosecute the landowner so that the stiffest penalties are levied?” she said when contacted by FMT.

Last night’s landslide occurred when a 2m retaining wall under construction gave way near a chalet resort along Jalan Batu Ferringhi, close to Tanjung Bungah. Four Myanmar workers were buried alive.

Meenakshi, who is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia, also called for measures to ensure that Jalan Batu Ferringhi would not collapse given that a large chunk of earth appeared to have come from the road itself.

She was referring to the cliff separating the main road from the resort, which gave way last night.

“What is also clear from this tragedy is that the authorities, especially MBPP, should take proactive measures by monitoring and inspecting all earthwork activities on the island, especially in erosion-prone areas such as Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang as well as other parts of Penang.”