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Penang Forum: State govt told about landslide cases

GEORGE TOWN: Landslides at hill slope projects in Tanjung Bungah have been highlighted to the state government since early this year, according to Penang Forum.
Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui said the first case was highlighted by Penang Hill Watch (PHW) in January and the second in May.
"Photographs of construction and hill cutting on this site were presented to the state government to which it responded that the 'earthworks were under monitoring'.
"On the second report, we followed up closely but did not get any response from the state government," he told a press conference.
A landslide on Saturday buried 11 construction workers at the site of a 50-storey affordable housing block in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah.
Seven bodies have so far been recovered.
Lim said Penang Forum had called on the Penang government to review and stop further hill slope projects two years ago but the call fell on deaf ears.
"The consequences are painfully evident today after an estimate of perhaps 11 lives could be lost in this tragedy," he said.
He said in the Safety Guidelines for Hill Slope Development, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Penang Local Authorities were to strengthen their geotechnical unit, which process and approve applications for hill site development, followed by strict enforcement.
"The question is what happened then? Did the state and local governments follow through on their guidelines? Or was there gross negligence?," he said.
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