Drop charges, landslide-hit Bukit Kukus road builders appeal to AGC

A Construction Industry Development Board officer taking a look at the safety measures taken by contractors of the Bukit Kukus bypass road earlier this year.

GEORGE TOWN: The contractors of the Bukit Kukus bypass road here, which saw nine killed in a landslide last year, have asked the Attorney-General’s Chambers to drop a worksite safety negligence charge brought against them last month.

Syarikat Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd, through its lawyer, S Kanesh, told the Sessions Court here today that it has sent a representation to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Aug 8 for the charges to be dropped.

Sessions Court Judge Madzi Abdul Hamid set Sept 27 for mention of the case to allow the AGC to decide on the appeal on the three charges concerning worksite safety violations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994.

On July 2, Yuta Maju and its project director were charged with failing to ensure the safety, health and welfare of its workers on two separate occasions.

Under the first charge, the company was alleged to have failed to strengthen a temporary slope which caused a landslide which killed nine workers on Oct 19, 2018.

The second charge was pertaining to the company’s failure to adopt safety procedures after it dropped 11 steel beams for the elevated road into the valley. No one was hurt.

Both charges are under Section 15 (1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, which carries a RM50,000 fine or maximum two years’ jail if convicted.

The third charge was related to the absence of a safety and health officer at the worksite, as required under the law as per Section 29(2) of the same act.

The offence carries a RM5,000 fine or a maximum six months’ jail term if convicted.

Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) prosecuting officer Norliza Abu Othman prosecuted.

The landslide occurred at the site of an elevated road project, costing RM530 million, taken up by the Penang Island City Council and two private developers near Air Itam.

According to DOSH, at least 42,000 tonnes of earth fell on 12 container cabins housing 13 foreign workers, killing nine and injuring the other four.