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  1. #1
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    Hillside Development

    Tragedy after tragedy. UMNO will react with a blanket ban on hillside development. Then they blame the developers for lobbying the authorities for approval. Why would the developers lobby unless the authorities are amenable to lobbying, maybe with a bit of greasing.

    The approving authorities are not liable for any negligence in approval of projects. What is the use of having these bodies if they have the monopoly but not the responsibility. This is an abuse of natural justice.

    Bottom line: The fault lies with UMNO. If civil servants are made criminally liable for their acts, they will exercise due care in the execution of their duties. Now, they can approve any project with impunity and are protected by law.

    1. Lessons from Highland Towers lie buried in Bukit Antarabangsa rubble

    2. Politicians' promise of more action comes too late for Bukit Antarabangsa victims

    3. Najib: No More Government Approval For Risky Hillside Development

    4. Stop Hillslope Development, Says Abdullah

    5. History Of Landslides In Hulu Klang

    6. Relative Tranquility Of Bukit Antarabangsa Again Shattered By Landslide

    7. Landslides in Malaysia this year

    8. PM urges state gov'ts to stop hill-slope projects

    9. M'sia bans hillside projects

    10. Local councils in Selangor put on high alert

    11. Penang to take preventive measures for hillside projects

    ........

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...abangsa-rubble

    Lessons from Highland Towers lie buried in Bukit Antarabangsa rubble

    By Baradan Kuppusamy

    DEC 6 - One of the first actions the government took when Highland Towers
    collapsed in 1993, killing 48 people, was to announce a ban on hillside
    development.

    Today the government announced another ban on hillside development following
    the tragedy in Bukit Antarabangsa where at least four people are dead, many
    injured and nearly 5,000 evacuated and a large upscale housing area declared
    a disaster zone.

    This latest tragedy happened about a kilometre from the Highland Towers
    disaster that struck 15 years ago almost to the day.

    In between the intervening years hillside development has been taking place
    and at an alarming rate despite the tragedies. Every November/December when
    heavy rains start, landslides happen and policymakers usually passed off the
    tragedies as an "act of God".

    The forgotten lessons of the the Highland Towers tragedy, if complied with,
    would have saved many lives.

    The official inquiry that followed and the drawn-out court case over the
    Highland Tower tragedy highlighted the failure of the local authorities to
    control indiscriminate hillside development.

    It also fingered hillside development laws that were rudimentary at best and
    worst, the Federal Court held in 2006 that local councils were not liable
    for damage caused by landslides and collapses - virtually giving local
    councils total immunity against negligence suits.

    The court found that the specific causes of the collapse were damage done by
    water that was diverted by another development project up the hill and which
    flowed behind the Highland Tower blocks.

    The same reasons can be expected for the Jalan Damansara landslide yesterday
    and today's tragedy at Bukit Antarabangsa - damage done by uncontrolled,
    unmanaged water flow and rudimentary retaining walls unable to bear the
    sudden increase in load - mud, boulders, debris - that were loosen by water.

    The Federal Court in the Highland Towers tragedy noted the same cause and
    effect, saying "an extensive area of land was denuded of trees and water
    flowed over this area carrying eroded soil, silt. These caused or
    contributed to the collapse of Block 1 of the Highland Towers."

    But the lessons are not learnt and the tragedy is repeated, said lawyers
    involved with the Highland Towers case.

    "People, policymakers, local authorities and developers did not learn the
    lessons," said a retired lawyer who was briefly involved in the case. "The
    reason is the huge profit that is to be made."

    "The profit in upscale hillside development is enormous all round and
    everybody - officials, developers and lawyers - are willing to close an
    eye," he said.

    "The structures look strong and they are strong but unless you manage the
    surrounding area of a hill and control all the development activities,
    damage would be done over time leading to a tragedy," the lawyer said.

    "A hill is a holistic structure. you cannot develop one side and ignore the
    other sides. Geologically, everything is inter-connected on a hill," he
    said.

    The shocking part of the Highland Towers tragedy is that local councils were
    absolved for their failures and held not liable for losses suffered by
    anyone should a building collapse.

    Coming as it does from the Federal Court, the matter is decided unless it is
    reviewed by the same court. As such the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council then
    and now is absolved and not liable because the decision still stands.

    In the Highland Towers case the council was held not liable for losses
    suffered by the 73 residents of Block 2 and 3 and in the deaths of the 48
    when Block 1 collapsed.

    The 2-1 ruling held that local authorities like MPAJ were given full
    immunity under Section 95 (2) of the Street, Drainage & Building Act 1974
    (Act 133) from claims for the pre-collapse period.

    The majority decision delivered by Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad said that if
    the local councils were made liable, it would open the floodgates to further
    claims for economic loss, and this would deplete the council's resources
    meant for the provision of basic services and infrastructure.

    He held that it was unfair for rate payers' funds to be used to pay
    negligent suits.

    "In my view, the provision of basic necessities for the general public has
    priority over compensation for pure economic loss of some individuals, who
    are clearly better off than the majority of the residents in the local
    council area," he said.
    ____

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...3-politicians-
    promise-of-more-action-comes-too-late-for-bukit-antarabangsa-victims

    Politicians' promise of more action comes too late for Bukit Antarabangsa victims

    By Leslie Lau Consultant Editor

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 - The federal government has immediately frozen all
    building permits for hillside development, while the Selangor state
    government has put all local councils on high alert in the aftermath of this
    morning's landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa.

    The country's attention was once again drawn to the dangers of hillside
    developments after this morning's incident killed at least four people and
    caused thousands to be evacuated from the leafy neighbourhood which is
    within sight of the Petronas Twin Towers.

    Bukit Antarabangsa, which has had a history of landslides, is also adjacent
    to the Highland Towers condominium, where almost 15 years ago one tower
    collapsed, killing 48 people and prompting national soul-searching over the
    need for more stringent regulations on hillslope developments.

    Then, as is the situation now, government leaders quickly responded with
    promises to ensure more stringent regulations.

    Visiting the site of rescue operations today, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk
    Seri Najib Razak said the government will no longer allow any development in
    hilly areas at risk of landslides to avert a recurrence of the mishaps.

    As such, he said, developers should not lobby the government for approval
    for projects in these areas, Bernama reported.

    "I believe there is no reason to carry out development on hill slopes at
    risk of landslides. It is better to take preventive measures to avert
    possible disasters.

    "We have to learn from what has happened today," he said during a visit to
    look at the landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa, Hulu Klang, near here.

    Meanwhile, Selangor Local Government Committee chairman Ronnie Liu said all
    local councils had been put on high alert.

    "I have instructed all the local councils to run a check on areas in their
    districts to ensure they are safe," he said.

    He added the state government had also accepted an offer from the Real
    Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) to audit potential
    landslide areas in the state.

    But even as political leaders promised more action, the tragic tales
    emerging from the site of this morning's landslide pose a grim reminder of
    how previous promises by political leaders have not resulted in better
    maintenance and monitoring of hilly developments.

    One of the more poignant tales which emerged was that of Datuk Shaharuddin
    Adnan who tried in vain to look for his son who was trapped in the
    landslide.

    He called his son Shaiful Khas's mobile phone and followed the ringing to
    locate his son.

    What Shaharuddin found was his son's hand sticking out from under the
    rubble, his hand still holding on to the mobile phone. Shaiful was already
    dead.
    ____

    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376748

    Najib: No More Government Approval For Risky Hillside Development
    December 06, 2008 14:14 PM

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Bernama) -- The government will not allow any
    development in hilly areas at risk of landslides to avert a recurrence of
    the mishaps, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Saturday.

    As such, he said, developers should not lobby the government for approval
    for projects in these areas.

    "I believe there is no reason to carry out development on hill slopes at
    risk of landslides. It is better to take preventive measures to avert
    possible disasters.

    "We have to learn from what has happened today," he said during a visit to
    look at the landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa, Hulu Klang, near here. He was
    accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

    Najib said there was no stopping developers from sending in their
    applications for hillslope projects once the stir over the landslide has
    eased.

    "Human beings have a short memory. In three or six months, people would have
    forgotten (what happened) and the developers will lobby for their
    applications to be approved. They do not learn from what has happened," he
    said.

    Police have confirmed that three people were killed in the landslide which
    buried 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama in the Bukit
    Antarabangsa area.

    A section of the hillslope collapsed and buried the bungalows at about 4 am
    when most of the residents were fast asleep.

    Najib warned developers not to pressure the government for approvals or to
    regard the government's action as harsh.

    However, he said the government should not be blamed if any area where
    development was not allowed in the first place was later found to be
    risk-free.

    "We have to take a decision if an area is regarded to be at high risk. If
    the people cannot accept (the government's decision), those living in these
    areas will have to accept the fact that they may be exposed to danger," he
    said.

    On the landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa, Najib said experts would be
    appointed to examine the high-risk area which has seen two major landslides
    so far. The Highlands Tower collapse had occurred in 1993 just 1.5km from
    the site of today's landslide.

    Najib expressed satisfaction with the swift action of the security forces.

    He said the rescue operation had to be conducted with caution as the area
    was still unstable.

    He also said that the government had taken the precautionary measure of
    evacuating more than 2,000 occupants of from one block of condominiums
    located close to the disaster area.

    -- BERNAMA
    ____

    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376791

    Stop Hillslope Development, Says Abdullah

    December 06, 2008 17:31 PM

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Saturday
    urged all the state governments to consider stopping housing projects on
    high-risk hillslopes.

    "It would be good if the other state governments disallow housing
    developments in hilly areas. It's not a loss, it's for safety," he told a
    news conference after visiting the site in Bukit Antarabangsa here where a
    landslide early this morning buried 14 bungalows and three people were
    confirmed dead so far.

    The prime minister said that if a landslide should occur, the loss could be
    greater than the loss from not developing projects on high-risk land
    although the landowners and developers might be angry at not being allowed
    to proceed with their plans.

    Abdullah said today's landslide and two earlier incidents in the Klang
    Valley should be a signal that if serious attention was not given to the
    matter it could invite even greater disasters.

    "We may not like to see it but if we disregard land stability, especially on
    hillslopes, we are actually inviting disasters and tragedies to the
    detriment of everyone," he said.

    He instructed experts from the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Iram) to
    immediately inspect and monitor the area in Bukit Antarabangsa to save the
    nearby housing estates.

    "There are many highland areas in Selangor and the Federal Territory. Make
    sure that the land in all these areas is firm and there should be no more
    problems relating to landslides.

    "If there is a likelihood of a landslide, early action should be taken," he
    said.

    Abdullah also ordered a stop to all development projects in Bukit
    Antarabangsa pending a full report from Ikram.

    Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said six more
    victims were believed to be still trapped in the rubble and two of them had
    been located and were believed to be still alive.

    He said rescue work was still going on. -- BERNAMA
    ____

    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376789

    History Of Landslides In Hulu Klang

    December 06, 2008 17:16 PM

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Bernama) -- Hulu Klang, the place where the latest
    landslide occurred in Taman Bukit Utama and Taman Bukit Mewah in Bukit
    Antarabangsa on Saturday is actually a hilly area that is prone to
    landslides.

    On Dec 11, 1993, 48 people were killed when one of the three condominium
    blocks of Highland Towers in Taman Hillview, located 1.5km away from
    Saturday's landslide scene, collapsed.

    The tragedy shocked the whole nation as it was the first in its history
    since the independence.

    The collapse of the building after three days of heavy downpours had created
    public awareness on the safety of buildings built on hill slopes.

    Apart from the Highland Towers, other landslide-related incidents which had
    occurred in the Hulu Klang area are as follows:

    Dec 10, 1985: Two new unoccupied double-storey houses in Taman Melawati,
    collapsed at 8.50am during heavy downpours.

    Sept 17, 1998: One house was destroyed in Gombak due to soil erosion.

    March 29, 1990: A landslide occurred in Taman Setia Wangsa, affecting 80
    families in two flats.

    Dec 25, 1997: Three people were buried alive in a landslide in Km 17 of the
    Ampang-Hulu Kelang Expressway.

    May 15, 1999: Thousands of residents in Bukit Antarabangsa and Wangsa Ukay
    in Jalan Hulu Klang were trapped when a 100-metre long landslide occurred at
    5.20am and cut off the only access road to the hilly residential area.

    Feb 24, 2000: A four-year-old child was killed in a landslide in Kampung Sri
    Damai, near Taman Kencana, Ampang.

    Oct 5, 2000: A landslide occurred in Jalan Bukit Antarabangsa during heavy
    downpours but no casualty was reported.

    Nov 20, 2002: A landslide at 4.30am flattened the double-storey bungalow of
    Affin Bank Bhd chairman Gen (Rtd)Tan Sri Ismail Omar.

    His wife, Puan Sri Azizah Abdul Aziz, his son Hijaz, two in-laws, two
    grandchildren and two Indonesian maids, perished in the 4.35am incident.

    The bungalow was located 300m away from the Highland Towers.

    May 31, 2006: Four people including two children were killed when they were
    buried alive in a landslide that flattened three blocks of longhouses at
    Kampung Pasir during a heavy downpours at 4.45pm. -- BERNAMA
    ____

    December 06, 2008 10:39 AM

    Relative Tranquility Of Bukit Antarabangsa Again Shattered By Landslide

    By Yong Soo Heong

    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376711

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 (Bernama) -- The relative tranquility of Bukit
    Antarabangsa, a hilly township comprising upmarket and middle class
    bungalows, condominiums and terrace houses was broken this morning following
    a landslide that originated from Jalan Wangsa Ukay 9 at Taman Wangsa Ukay.

    Tonnes of earth and boulders rolled down several houses just before dawn, at
    4am, today, in an area about 1.5 km from where one of three blocks of the
    Highland Towers collapsed on Dec 11, 1993 taking 48 lives.

    The landslide happened so fast but word got around through SMSes, radio or
    tv, and many people made a beeline to the disaster area.

    The town centre, comprising a supermarket, a petrol station and two rows of
    shophouses, was unusually jam-packed with cars of curious onlookers,
    ambulances, and vehicles from the police and civil defence.

    At daybreak, this writer joined a group of onlookers at a row of abandoned
    houses at Jalan Wangsa 9 overlooking the disaster area.

    They decided to circumvent a security tape which had been put up by security
    officials to prevent people from going near the edge of the slope.

    The group of us was about 15 to 20 metres from where it all started.

    Suddenly the earth started to move slightly and many of the uprooted Flame
    of the Forest trees resumed their descent.

    The onlookers, many of them armed with camera phones, then ran
    helter-skelter.

    Come to think of it, we were precariously near where disaster struck.

    Many of the people there said the landslide must have been caused by the
    heavy rains over the past few days. This was just at Jalan Wangsa Ukay 9
    today.

    At the main road leading towards Bukit Antarabangsa, a handful of workmen
    were seen putting concrete reinforcement against a giant boulder which
    appeared to be tilting towards the road. A stone's throw away, water was
    trickling from the crevice of another boulder.

    Last week this road was temporary closed for a day when some boulders fell
    on to the road.

    The workmen appeared to be racing against time. Another disaster could be in
    the offing if this giant boulder were to give way when more rain falls.

    It would mean that one of the main arteries connecting Bukit Antarabangsa to
    the Middle Ring Road II could be cut again, just as it happened last week
    and a few years ago.- -- BERNAMA
    ____
    Landslides in Malaysia this year
    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...20081206131931
    &sec=nation

    PM urges state gov'ts to stop hill-slope projects
    http://anilnetto.com/development-iss...lope-projects/

    M'sia bans hillside projects
    http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_311225.html


    Local councils in Selangor put on high alert

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...320&sec=nation

    Penang to take preventive measures for hillside projects

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...711&sec=nation
    py

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    Re: Hillside Development

    We can refer to the map here for an idea of the terrain.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lat=3.1779671&...15&l=0&m=t&v=2

    Move the cursor until it is north of a green patch (Kelab Golf Darul Ehsan). A brown patch (Bt Antarabangsa) will be highlighted. Zoom in on a smaller box and we will se Taman Bukit Utama. Looking at the contours, it would suggest a landslide originating from Ulu Kelang coming in from the South East.

    Basically, the local authorities have approved building projects by developers on very unstable ground. Common sense would tell us that buildings sited at the foot of very steep slopes are extremely vulnerable to landslides. The person who approves such projects should be made personally liable so that they are more careful in their planning approval. Even then, we need such projects to be vetted by experts in engineering geology and geotechnical engineers. Ng Chak Ngoon should fit the bill although he may too modest to acknowledge it.
    py

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    Elizabeth Wong - Bukit Antarabangsa landslide: Bitter vindication

    Bukit Antarabangsa landslide: Bitter vindication
    December 7, 2008 Posted by elizabethwong

    One of the earliest policy decision made by the new Selangor state govt of
    Pakatan Rakyat was to throw out any housing and building applications on
    Class 3 and Class 4 hillslopes, in order to preserve environmentally
    sensitive areas and prevent the recurrence of landslides. This was decided
    on April 2, 2008 Executive Council meeting.
    http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/legal...slope_projects
    .html?date=2008-09-01

    Selangor became the first and only state in the Federation to have complied
    with the Federal Town and Country Planning Department's "Total Planning
    Guidelines" 1997 (2nd edition, 2001) which states that no housing
    development should be allowed on 25 degrees and above gradient slopes.

    Developers thought it was a late April Fool's joke. Since our ban, they have
    used all means - the media, blogs, lobbying of ADUNs and MPs etc. to change
    of our minds. We were labelled and villified as "anti-business" and
    "anti-development". I have even had some of our Pakatan MPs asking us to
    make exceptions for Class 3.

    I was told they particularly disliked me and called me "lan-si" (very
    'action') just because during a public meeting of developers, NGOs,
    residents and the Exco, one of the key developers questioned how could the
    state government stop hillslope development, and I answered, "Because we
    can.". And none were too happy when I had to repeatedly and literally wave
    the 'Total Planning Guidelines" book at them.

    And every couple of months, we have to repeat our policy decision again.
    Even as recent as last month, developers were insisting that they had
    theright to develop hillslopes and some had told a couple of ExCo members
    that they were planning to sue us. One of them said we would have to
    compensate them RM 330 million (25% of our state budget) of possible loss of
    profits. Imagine the pressure of a lobby group whose combined income and
    assets dwarfs the state government.
    http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.as...ntral/21494816
    &sec=central
    http://www.rehda.com/posts/PressRelease-081117.pdf

    Saturday's tragedy proves the correctness of the decision of the state
    government. But vindication which comes after loss of 4 lives and more homes
    is unspeakably bitter. There are some 5,000 residents living within the
    vicinity of the landslide who face uncertainty and possibly have to vacate
    their houses.

    We ask that developers to stop pursuing and pressuring us to review our
    policy, and instead they should be thoroughly go through every single
    technicality of their existing hillslope projects.

    While Ikram and Public Works department will be charged to pinpoint the
    cause of the tragedy on Saturday, the state government will immediately
    review all approved hillslope projects by the previous administration,
    standing or partially constructed.

    Those, which there is no construction yet but approved previously prior to
    March 8, 2008, should not be allowed to proceed, especially along the same
    range of Bukit Antarabangsa and Ulu Kelang - which should include Taman
    Hijau and Bukit Melawati.

    We had come too late. Many of the hillslope projects have already been
    standing for a number of years, some were half completed when we came into
    power. Without proper maintenance of slopes and drainage on these private
    lands, tragedy will strike after many years, always after the period of
    indemnity is over.

    Those areas which are shown to be prone to landslides such as in Ulu Kelang
    which as far back as 2005, the Public Works Department had already flashed
    its red card, more stringent conditions will be imposed on already existing
    housing projects.
    http://maverickysm.blogspot.com/2005...system_08.html

    All developers and private land owners have to protect and reinforce their
    own hillslopes if they want to continue to prosper, own property and do
    business in Selangor. We have recently received complaints from Ampang,
    Kajang, Cheras and Pandan where private land owners and developers have
    neglected to protect their hilslopes and there are already signs of wear and
    tear. Some put plastic sheets and some said they were bankrupt, those they
    don't have to funds to repair their slopes. Whatever. If they do not do the
    necessary, we will blacklist them in the state and beyond.

    We ask that 'People' be put ahead of 'Profits'.

    We heartened that finally, after 8 months of battling the housing
    industryalone, that the Federal Government has come on to our side to give
    Selangor, both the moral and policy support it needs, with both the PM and
    DPM calling for all hillslope development permits nationwide to be
    cancelled.

    We can only hope Federal government doesn't forget after 3, 4 months,
    December 6, 2008 will not be forgotten - like what had happened in 1993
    (Highland Towers), 2002 (Tmn Hillview) and 2006 (Kg Pasir - which was less
    than a km away from Saturday's landslide) and the lives lost, both yesterday
    and in the past will not be in vain.

    http://elizabethwong.wordpress.com/2...r-vindication/
    py

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    Lim Kit Siang: Criminal negligence in Bt Antarabangsa landslide

    Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster - criminal negligence after Highland
    Towers tragedy 15 years ago


    posted on Sunday, December 7th, 2008 at 13: 02.13

    The Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster yesterday, claiming at least five
    lives, injuring at least 15 and dislocating thousands of residents after
    destroying 14 bungalows, is sheer criminal negligence after the Highland
    Towers tragedy which killed 48 people 15 years ago.

    Clearly, the lessons of the Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago have not
    been learnt by anyone, least of all the various government agencies, whether
    at the federal, state or local government level.

    The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday lamented that
    "Malaysians never want to learnt from past experiences" - "They want good
    views while developers only seek to profit; but no one takes safety and soil
    stability into consideration".

    Conspicuously absent from Abdullah's blame list are the various government
    agencies and authorities who should be even more culpable in giving
    approvals or closing an eye to dangerous hillside developments and in
    totally ignoring the lessons of the Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago.

    I visited the site of the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide tragedy this morning
    together with several DAP MPs - Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Fong Kui Lun
    (Bukit Bintang), Lim Lip Eng (Segambut), Teo Nie Ching (Serdang) - Selangor
    State Exco Member Ean Yong Hian Wah (Seri Kembangan) and Lee Ying Ha
    (Teratai) and I was shocked that the Minister for Housing and Local
    Government, Datuk Ong Ka Chuan had still to make his appearance at the site
    although it was more than 24 hours after the tragedy.

    When the Highland Towers tragedy occurred on Dec. 11, 1993, the then Housing
    and Local Government Minister, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh, was immediately on
    the scene and stayed for hours. Where is Ong Ka Chuan?

    Parliament must prove its relevance by having an immediate debate on why the
    lessons of the Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago have not been learnt or
    the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster yesterday would not have happened.

    MPs from both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat should speak loud and
    clear in Parliament on Wednesday to express their condemnation of the
    criminal negligence which had failed to learn from the Highland Towers
    tragedy to prevent the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster yesterday.

    I call on Ka Chuan to work with the Works Minister and the Environment
    Minister to present a ministerial statement on the Bukit Antarabangsa
    landslide tragedy in Parliament when MPs reconvene on Wednesday and to
    ensure that his ministerial statement is followed by a full parliamentary
    debate.

    A Royal Commission of Inquiry should be established to inquire not only into
    the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide tragedy, but even more important, why the
    lessons of the Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago have not been learnt by
    all the parties concerned, including the federal, state and local government
    authorities as to prevent yesterday's tragedy from happening.

    http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2008/12/...-15-years-ago/
    py

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    A price paid with death

    A price paid with death
    COMMENTARY

    DEC 7 - Pricey plots of land for priceless views equals profits for the developers.

    If that is not a good reason enough to develop hill sides, denude the land
    and damage the delicate balance of nature, what else could it be?

    The Bukit Antarabangsa landslide is the third such incident in a week in the
    Klang Valley, where death and destruction is followed by a deluge and dirge
    of headlines and comments to prevent the future wrath of Mother Nature.

    Four deaths in Bukit Antarabangsa. Two in Ulu Yam Perdana. Forty-eight in
    Highland Towers. That is the price paid for digging at the hillsides of the
    Klang Valley over the years.

    We heard it 15 years ago. We heard it through the years. We hear it now. We
    will hear more in the future.

    In the past 24 hours, many have repeated what they said over the years.

    Among them, environmentalist Gurmit Singh saying landslides were common
    occurrences in Malaysia and most of them could easily be avoided if
    engineers, architects, surveyors, developers and civil servants carried out
    their duties with care and responsibility.

    He said following the Highlands Towers collapse, which took 48 lives in
    1993, authorities had decided to bar hill slope development.

    Meanwhile, local government expert and lawyer Derek Fernandez predicted many
    more landslides in the Klang Valley.

    "Overdevelopment and the inability of the infrastructure to cater for
    environmental changes and gross neglect in providing proper drainage systems
    for the area are probable causes of the landslide," he said.

    Predictably, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ordered a stop
    to all hillside housing projects in the Bukit Antarabangsa area.

    And Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on
    developers not to lobby or pressure the Government for any building permits
    for hillside development.

    "Clearly, the lessons of the Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago have not
    been learnt by anyone, least of all the various government agencies, whether
    at the federal, state or local government level," said DAP strongman Lim Kit
    Siang, who also predictably called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to
    investigate the latest landslide.

    Everyone will wring their hands and lament the tragedy as the victims try to
    rebuild their lives from the rubble and mud of Bukit Antarabangsa while the
    others bury their dead extricated from the premature tomb of their
    once-standing hillside houses.

    There will be soul-searching by all and sundry. There will be investigations
    and recommendations.

    And promises of a safer future, better laws and definitely no more hillside
    developments.

    And once all is said and done, the excavators and tractors now clearing the
    tonnes of earth, mud, rubble of brick and stone will finish their job in
    Bukit Antarabangsa.

    Only to move on to another site and dig up new plots of hillside homes for
    those hankering for prized views of the Kuala Lumpur metropolis.

    Despite all the deaths and destruction over the years, developers are still
    willing to profit from those willing to pay a price for priceless views in
    these exclusive homes.

    For them, death is just a possible cost. Tell that to the four who lost
    their lives, and their families who lost loved ones.

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...aid-with-death
    py

  6. #6
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    Oct 2008
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    12,848

    Re: Hillside Development

    More on landslides. After the hue and cry is over, they will be back to their merry ways.

    Slippery slope, sliding standards?
    http://mustafakanuar.wordpress.com/2...ing-standards/

    Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster - urgent Parliament debate
    http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2008/12/07/2122/

    Politicians' promise of more action comes too late for Bukit Antarabangsa victims
    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...bangsa-victims

    Phobia In Living On Hillslopes Must Be There To Avoid Landslide Tragedies
    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376855

    Malaysia bans hillside developments after landslide: report
    http://asia.news.yahoo.com/081207/af...cificnews.html

    Review Ongoing Hillslope Projects Call To State Governments
    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376935

    Pahang MB: No more highlands development
    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...ds-development

    Penang to monitor hillside development
    http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/94490

    Bukit Antarabangsa Slope Management Should Be Set Up To Prevent Landslides - Expert
    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376985

    National Slope Masterplan Ready Next Year
    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376933

    68 Water Catchment Areas Critical, May Cause Landslide
    http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=376976
    py

  7. #7
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    Oct 2008
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    Evacuation ordered

    2,000 residents told to move

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 - About 2,000 residents of four areas in Bukit
    Antarabangsa have been ordered to move immediately as study by the Public
    Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) and the Public Works Department (PWD)
    has found that the areas have a high risk of being hit by landslides.

    .........http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/ne....php?id=377000


    Bkt Antarabangsa: Some residents refuse to move out of danger area

    Updated: Sunday December 7, 2008 MYT 5:39:11 PM

    KUALA LUMPUR: Around 70 residents who have been identified as living in the
    danger area are refusing to leave their residence despite of slope
    instability.

    The residents are from Condominium Impian Selatan, Jalan 6A, Taman Bukit
    Jaya, Taman Bukit Mewah and a row of houses along Jalan Wangsa 9, Taman
    Wangsa Ukay.

    .......
    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...153&sec=nation
    py

  8. #8
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    Oct 2008
    Posts
    12,848

    Time for Local Authorities to be held liable for their decisions

    Hillslopes require technical expertise for planning approval and constant long-term monitoring by experts.

    There are too many tragedies involving landslides in hillslope areas. Imposing a blanket ban is just a mindless reaction to an engineering and geological issue. It is clear that the local authorities do not have the competency nor the integrity to manage this issue. If the govt insist on continuing with the current procedures then the local authorities must be held liable for their decisions. We cannot allow a situation where officials can blithely grant planning approval without having to take responsibility for it. The official must be held personally responsible, not the local govt, if it is found that he has committed a corrupt act. Otherwise, the local authority must be jointly liable together with the approving official.

    Alternatively, all authority for approval shall be granted to a central body comprising geotechnical and geological experts in hillslope development. Hong Kong has the experience and we should tap into their expertise. Their scope should also include monitoring the performance and maintenance of the slopes for life.

    At the same time, the developer should be required to be liable for a period of 50 years and should be responsible for maintaining the slopes and retaining walls in their projects, as well as engaging an expert to make quarterly reports to the approving authority. This should also encompass the control of all water draining to the structure, even those from outside their site limits. This is to avoid the situation where developers play Tai Chi and blame the neighbouring lots for their problems.

    To sum up:

    Don't ban hillslope development indiscriminately. Developers should be given a chance to develop their land. However, safety is paramount and developers should be bound legally and financially to this responsibility. This is where the issue lies.

    To overcome this, we can take the following steps:

    1. Approval to be granted by competent experts in the field who shall be professionally liable for their decisions.

    2. Hillslopes require constant and long-term monitoring. This shall be carried out by specialists knowledgeable in their field. It may even involve slope movement markers for critical slopes. Such reports shall be submitted to the approving authorities who shall review the results and decide on any additional safety measures to be implemented.

    3. To ensure that developers do their part and not abscond after their projects are completed, only reputable and financially-sound developers shall be permitted to undertake such projects. They are required to submit a long-term irrevocable bond to guarantee their performance.
    py

  9. #9
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    Experts coming out of the woodwork

    He's saying the right things. But is he really an expert?

    We need a peer review involving internationally-recognized experts. But this is not really the practice in Malaysia.


    Set up slope management to prevent landslides, says expert

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Bukit Antarabangsa’s slope management and inventory should be established to monitor the risk of each slope in the area.

    This is to ensure a stringent and continuous slope monitoring by the authorities, a geology expert suggested today.

    Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo said this could help the authorities identify areas prone to landslides and give early warning to the public which could help save lives since the area was identified as high-risk.

    .. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...es-says-expert
    py

  10. #10
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    In Bolehland, this is known as playing for time until the heat is over

    Next year, it will be Najib's baby.

    Asking people to vacate is a nice and easy solution. But who is going to pay for their loss and costs?

    The public rely on the planning authorities to vet all planning submissions and ensure that they comply with good engineering practice. If they collect public monies but don't take up the responsibility, what is the purpose of their existence?

    National Slope Master Plan ready next year

    KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Those occupying buildings in slope development areas will be asked to vacate their premises if they are found to be on the list of risky slopes under the National Slope Master Plan expected to be ready early next year.

    Under the master plan, ongoing development projects will be asked to stop if they are found to be in high-risk slope areas.

    Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government, Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew, said development on Class 3 and Class 4 slopes is categorised as high-risk.

    The master plan, to be drawn by the Public Works Department (PWD), will provide guidelines on construction and development on slopes and his ministry will use it to monitor projects, Lau said at the scene of the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide today.

    On the call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi that housing projects on hill sides and on high-risk slopes be halted, he said it should be supported.

    “If construction is going on, investigation should be done carefully,” he said.

    On the allegation of a Bukit Antarabangsa resident who said that the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) did not investigate the causes of fallen trees a few months ago, Lau said there may be “negligence” on the part of MPAJ in the matter.

    “If MPAJ received the information and did not investigate and take appropriate action, that is not right,” he said. — Bernama

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/i...eady-next-year
    py

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