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Tanjung Bungah landslide: Calls for urgent RCI as anger mounts

PETALING JAYA: Public anger is mounting over the deadly landslide which buried over a dozen workers at a construction site at Tanjung Bungah, Penang on Saturday morning (Oct 21).
Previous warnings to the Penang government over the dangers of over-developing the hillslopes had fallen on deaf ears.
According to reports, Tanjung Bungah Residents Association (TBRA) chairman Meenakshi Raman said the state government had brushed aside the comments of civil liberties groups on the state’s hillslope developments, calling such concerns “irrational”.
“We were called ‘irrational’ by the Penang government when we appealed for hill slope developments to stop. Who’s irrational now?” she was quoted as saying.
To prevent the repeat of such fatal tragedies, she demanded that the state government set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to investigate the cause of the landslide.
Prior to this, the TBRA had repeatedly petitioned the state government to end said developments as they caused flash floods in the state.
Along with other residents’ associations during the flash floods in September, they had collectively appealed to the state government to end all excess developments and hill clearing in the state.
Standing in solidarity with TBRA and other groups, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM), had also called on the Penang government to improve existing guidelines when it comes to hill slopes.
According to SAM president S. M Mohamed Idris, the NGO had written to the Penang powers-that-be “several times” to urge them to stop hillside developments.
They also issued warnings that hill slopes are fragile ecosystems that shouldn’t be interfered with.
“And now, we are really shocked that the lives of many have been sacrificed. We support TBRA’s call for an urgent RCI,” he added.
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