The Penang government through its special task force, the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Committee (Ops Lumpur) had identified various irregularities prior to the landslide tragedy that has so far claimed the lives of nine foreign workers at a construction site in Paya Terubong.
State Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said on Sept 28 the state had received a report concerning various hill-clearing activities in Penang from a non-governmental organisation (NGO) known as Penang Hills Watch.
“After receiving the report, we conducted a spot check on the Bukit Kukus site, with the team led by Drainage and Irrigation Department district engineer Nortilawati Osman and they found out that there were several irregularities at the site.
“The remit of the task force was to check for compliance of the project’s Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP),” he told reporters yesterday.
He added that the team had issued a letter to the consultant of the project demanding that mitigation measures be taken within 14 days, failing which the Penang Island City Council would be requested to take appropriate action including issuing a stopwork order.
He said since the complaint was related to flooding of mud-laden water, the Ops Lumpur team went to the site to check on the compliance of the ESCP.
“Ops Lumpur’s scope was to check on the causes of mud floods, not on slope stability,” he said, adding that the project is currently on hold due to the landslide.
Nortilawati said the spot check on Oct 8 was only conducted on the site which was the subject of the complaint by the NGO and was conducted away from the present landslide scene.
The landslide tragedy has so far claimed the lives of nine foreign workers, while three were injured and three others are feared to be trapped still.