Lives are lost. Regardless of whether they are Banglas, Malaysian, Indons, the fact still remains - families lost their loved ones and Malaysia lost a small fraction of its workforce.
On last count, 11 were confirmed dead with their bodies retrieved.
The question - What now, Penang State Government?
Everytime disaster struck, there will teh usual 2 - 3 days brouhaha before it dies down and life returns to normal. However, being DAP-led state, it is in everyone's hope that DAP practise what they preach. Now, it seems that that is not so.
In the case of Tanjung Bungah landslide, apparently Department of Environment (DOE) had voiced out their reservation on the project citing the following observation :-
1. The development site is located right next to Teik Granite Quarry, a permanent granite quarry that started operations in 1960;
2. The Department of Environment rejected the planning permission application in January 2015 and rejected it on Jan 23 2015;
3. DOE did not support the application as there was no buffer zone between the apartment project and the quarrying activities nearby, as required by the Guidelines of Siting and Zoning of Industries and Residential Areas;
4. The development also consisted of steep slopes that required a detailed engineering study and possibly, environmental impact assessment approval;
5. The State government ignore DOE advice and went ahead with the construction;
There will be more revealed in time to come. What does the State government response to this?
DCM II, P Ramasamy, starts with defending the state against the "I told you so" phenomenon.
He continued his argument as follows :-
1. Whether the landslide had anything to do with housing project per se remains to be established. The fact that housing project was on a flat piece of land raises questions about DOE's line of reasoning;
2. There is possibility that those responsible for the housing project - the developer, the consultant engineers and the contractors (and P Ramasamy failed to mention the Penang State government)- might have possibly overlooked the requirements of hill slope management, even though the hill slope was adjacent to the construction site;
3. The commission of inquiry that will be set up must pay serious attention to the issue raised by the ministry;
4. to put the blame squarely on the state government is not acceptable;
What DCM II wanted to say is, even if there is concern raised by relevant authorities, the fault is not with the State government. P Ramasamy is trying to deflect the obvious ie the State government failed to take into account all the concerns raised by Authorities as well as politicians, residents association. What is Lim Guan Eng's DAP-led state government is trying to do? Are they approving projects despite objections from federal authorities? These federal authorities are civil servants doing their job and they are not mouthpiece of Federal government. Why is Penang State government behaving like they know all attitude?
Even in approaching the problem, the State government tries to limit the inquiry to worker safety issues.
Lim Guan Eng, P Ramasamy and other EXCOs of DAP-led Penang State government should be held responsible for failing to take note of various concerns raised by NGOs like :-
1. The inquiry should look at the laws that have not been followed and whether or not the Penang Structure Plan (PSP) was neglected;
2. Look at whether the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), which has the authority to act, failed to properly do its job;
3. Photos of construction and hill cutting at the development site were presented to the state government. It responded that the ‘earthwork is being monitored;
4. Monitoring team will be established to ensure compliance in construction and performance (of projects). Where are the reports from these monitoring teams set up by Penang state government?;
5. The State Planning Committee, MBPP’s One-Stop-Centre Committee (which approved the project), the engineers, the developer and contractors should be investigated. Is there any elements of negligence here?;
6. The Safety Guidelines for Hillside Development clearly state that “if you have a slope ... depending on the height of the slope, you need to have a buffer zone that is greater than the height of the slope.” This statement clearly indicate that the developer and P Ramasamy failed to see the importance of the buffer zone;
7. Drone pictures may have indicated the problem in July 2017;
This tragedy goes beyond politics. However, DAP-led Penang state government needs to look inwards and ask themselves - are we doing things right or are we doing just as bad as BN when it comes to approving projects?
The buyers deserve better. Those, whose lives are affected by the tragedy deserves answers and solutions to prevent future mishaps. Now, what has you got to say on this, Lim Guan Eng? Or are you too busy planning strategies for the coming GE 14?
DAP almost normally cries their lungs off for transperancy. Now, where is transperancy when it comes to Penang state government? DAP tals about accountability, now will someone from DAP-led government steps forward and take the responsibility and resign from his post? Or is DAP, just like BN, All Talk no Action? Is Lim Guan Eng, P Ramasamy and their DAP-led Penang state government a paper tiger?
And please la...Lim Guan Eng, don't parrot the phrase "It was a construction site mishap"
On the other end of the spectrum, just can't wait for Apandi's suit against London-based blogger regarding certain insunuations in an article preceding "Strong rumours surrounding the AG: part 2". If indeed Apandi proceeds with his suit, just a word of advise to Apandi : Najib is suing Wall Street on Tuesday, so it is wise for you to sue on Wednesday. Which Wednesday? Well, the Wednesday after Najib's Tuesday... (whatever it means).
Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...