Penang landslide: State govt asked to submit report on deadly tragedy

A view of Tanjung Bungah landslide.
A view of Tanjung Bungah landslide. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Penang state government has been asked to present a report on the deadly landslide tragedy to the National Physical Planning Council next week.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is expected to explain theincident at the Tanjung Bungah construction site to Prime Minister Najib Razak during the meeting.

The ministry has sent an official letter to the state government requesting the report.

"We are giving them a chance to table a report," Tan Sri Noh told a press conference on Monday (Oct 23).

"Penang did not follow our recommendations. They claimed their report was more detailed and comprehensive due to the nature of the land," he said.

Noh said the state government preferred to use its own Safety Guidelines for Hill Site Development 2012.

He added that a state government has the liberty not to follow the guidelines issued by the Federal Government.

"A state has full authority over any decision, so we cannot force them to follow our guidelines," he said, adding that the local governments should still take heed of the Federal stipulations.

Noh also challenged the Democratic Action Party adviser Lim Kit Siang to tell his son, Lim Guan Eng, to resign over the landslide tragedy.

Noh said he did not want to politicise the matter but it was only appropriate because Kit Siang had blamed him for the fire that claimed 23 lives at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school in Kuala Lumpur, last month.

"They like to politicise such tragedies. Kit Siang even blamed me over the tahfiz fire. So now, I am challenging him to tell his son Guan Eng to resign," he said.

Kit Siang had reportedly said that Noh should be sacked or transferred for failing to ensure urban wellbeing.

On Saturday morning, 11 workers including a site supervisor were killed when a landslide struck at 8.30am while they were carrying out work at the basement area of the affordable housing project.

Guan Eng maintains that the landslide was a construction tragedy.

The National Resources and Environment Ministry said the project was rejected by the Department of Environment in 2015 as it was located close to a quarry.