Monday, December 8, 2008

Bukit Antarabangsa Tragedy - Hillslope Development

My deepest sympathy and condolence to the victims of the Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy.

The latest Bukit Antarabangsa Tragedy in Kuala Lumpur once again demonstrates the Malaysian boleh for the wrong reason.

Landslide in the vicinity of Bukit Antarabangsa is not alien to us. It is a tragedy that occurs with such frequency that we have to ask ourselves whether we are wiser after each disaster. We may be sad, but are we any wiser?

The usual blame game will start and new directives have been issued by the PM to state government and local council. This will be repeated when the next tragedy strikes again.

Hillslope development and landslide tragedy is a classic example of greed, inefficiency in implementation and poor monitoring or to be exact no monitoring.

There are clear guidelines for hillslope developments. There is also a cabinet committee on hillslope development with very clear guidelines according to the gradients of the hillslopes and measures to be undertaken. Often this remains good only on paper.

There are some issues that need to be taken in consideration for hillslope development.

1. Are projects approved according to guidelines in high-risk hillslope Development?

2. Are there any measures to stabilize the hillslope implemented?

3. Who is the monitoring authority? A coordinated approach involving JKR, DOE, JPS, local council and geotechnical experts are required.

4 When the project is completed, who is responsible for monitoring the hillslope stability?

5. What about the professional consultants (from engineers to architects) – are they also not liable, can they be sued so that there are more professionalism and commitment in their work?

I have written many times in this blog that EIA Report and other mitigating measures remain good on papers only since there is hardly any effective monitoring and enforcement.

We should learn from Hong Kong how they overcome their problem on Hillslopes development. There is a need to review all hillslope development that have been approved but not implemented and revisit some of the completed projects.

Political will is required. Meanwhile, there should not be any cutting of trees and vegetations on hillslopes that are earmarked for development. Buyers should be more demanding and discerning about purchasing houses on hillslopes. Panoramic view and fresh air is good if there is soil and slope stability.

首先,我要对在国际山庄土崩灾难中罹难者的家属致以深切的慰问。

最近发生在淡江的严重土崩事件再次凸显出“马来西亚能”是一项讽刺。

我们不会对国际山庄发生土崩感到陌生;对于如此频密发生的灾难,我们是否应该扪心自问,每一次发生灾难后,我们会难过,但是可有醒悟?

一如过去,灾难发生后出现谴责声浪,首相也已经向州政府及地方议会发出新指示。

然而,当日后再发生同样的灾难时,会重复同样的情节。

山坡地区发展及土崩灾难凸显贪婪、执法无效率及拙劣监管,甚至是完全没有监管的经典实例。

事实上,山坡地区发展是有明确的指南,而且内阁也成立一个委员会,并根据山坡的斜度拟定指南,同时也阐明所需采取所有措施,但这一切只沦为纸上谈兵。

山坡发展需要进行以下考量:
1. 是否根据高风险山坡发展指南去审核有关发展计划?
2.是否有进行任何稳定坡面的措施?
3.谁是监管机构?工程局、环境局、水利灌溉局、地方政府及地质专家应该互相协调。
4.当发展计划竣工,谁负责监管山坡环境稳定?
5.专业人士(工程师至建筑师)又如何?他们是否需要负责法律责任?从而确保这些专业人士的工作更专业及负责精神。

我曾在这里多次提及,环境评估报告及其他调和的措施只是纸上谈兵,因为这期间几乎没有进行严厉的监管及执法。

我们应该向香港学习,从而了解他们是如何解决山坡地区发展的问题。同时,也需要检讨所有已经获得批准但还没有进行的山坡发展计划,并重新视查部分已经竣工的计划。

政治意愿是必要的。但不应该为了要发展而砍伐山坡树木及植物。购屋者方面,有意购买山坡房屋的人士要更谨慎及苛刻选择。当然,如果土壤及坡面稳定,绿意盎然的景色及新鲜空气是大家都喜爱的。

13 comments:

Chen Chow said...

Dato' Seri, this is not directly about your this post, but about the links on the right hand side of your blog.

From there, we can see links to various newspapers etc, as well as a link to YB Lim Kit Siang.

While it is fine to have the link to opposition leader, I think it should be appropriate to have links to several other leaders within MCA and BN too, to be fair.

CTLee said...

Datuk Seri,

I agree with your article and comprehensive proposals. But one important issue which you miss out or intentionally miss out is the NEP factor. Are we sidelining alot of our best Engineers, architects, planners,etc in the public service in the name of NEP (or ketuanan Melayu)? A point in view is the recent hooha about the non-malay personnel who was promoted to be the acting GM in PKNS. If we cannot have the best and committed people in public service irregardless of race, it will still be pointless to have all sort of laws and guidelines.

Engineering failures affect all irregardless of race and economic status. The Malaysian govt need to wake up before we have to encounter more catastrophes

CTLee

Ban Tiek said...

People tend to be forgetful and oblivious to the rules for hillslope developments. Rules remain rules as there is no mechanism to implement them. Everything looks nice on paper until something crops up. The BN Government should be blamed.

NEIL said...

Dr, If they keep on approving projects like this under the table ,I won't be surprise there will be another tragedy like this in future.

朱刚明 said...

根據大馬律師公會主席楊映波在2006年的讲话里谈及”因山崩而打算起訴安邦再也市議會的居民很難打贏官司”一事說: “除非聯邦法院推翻較早前裁決安邦再也市議會享有豁免權的決定,否則因山崩而打算起訴安邦再也市議會的居民很難打贏官司”。详情可參阅
http://www.sinchew-i.com/special/topic.phtml?sec=896&artid=200606022502

shan said...

Wonder how many BNputras have a stake in hill side development?

yakuzanam said...

check this out, if i am not wrong, the local authority / council has pretty much FULL immunity against any legal suit should there be any of this case occurs. BUT ironically, they have FULL rights to approve or reject a proposed project.

this has been a nightmare to MOST of the consultants like architect and engineer, in particular. liability has been completely pushed to the consultants.

THERE SHALL be a thorough review into this policy.
local council and authority SHOULD be imposed with some level of 'duty-of-care' in order to make them to be more responsible in monitoring the progress of works on site (as a neutral party).

by doing this, they are to work closely with relevant consultants of a project, ensuring the compliance of all the subjected regulations FROM the VERY BEGINNING, DURING and END of a project.

this will also contributes a lot to the on-going battle against CORRUPTIONs.

I swear said...

Dr Chua, where's your comrade the Housing Minister eh? Landslides and people dead also no news from him. People dead not important, rubbing shoulders with VIP more important?

In other countries, their Ministers would have taken the first flight back home.

So all this reforms are all NATO only?

Pearls said...

Everytime there is such a tragedy, everybody will say all sorts of things but wait la.. in another 6 months, construction will start again, developers will be gleefully rubbing their hands together counting their profits and some idiots will have extra few hundred thousands in their bank account and can afford to take on a 3rd wife!!

I dont think we will ever learn from any of these tragedies. I dont think the government, municiple councils, developers has ever or will ever care that there are lives lost and damaged. Sigh.. this is all about GREED!

GOHHOEHOE said...

To All Whom may be concerned
Please watch
http://www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/chinese/top/video080919.html


I am willing to sacrifice my time for any translation services voluntarily ,In the past I did the same in Japan ,Singapore and Malaysia
预报山体滑坡有新招

台风引发的山体滑坡常常都在威胁着人们的生命与财产安全,为了减少损失,日本茨城县筑波市的研究人员正在摸索全新的山体滑坡预报法。

播放期间:2008年9月19日至9月26日


Why there are less incidence of this in Singapore and Hong kong
which are also situated in equiteral region and of the same wheather pattern like us. Local governance need to be improved. Agree with the following statement
"Hillslope development and landslide tragedy is a classic example of greed, inefficiency in implementation and poor monitoring or to be exact no monitoring."

JY said...

Feeling disappointed with people who keep giving political comments in the press after such tragedy happened without contributing any helps. Why would this be politicalize instead of giving beneficial comment on the improvement measures or restructuring? When could this finger-pointing culture ended?

The tragedy has again given the opposition parties and its supporters a chance to bombard the government. What I see is, it has became Malaysian culture to blame the government for whatever issue, I believe same will goes to Pakatan Rakyat IF they were the current government.

My deepest sympathy to the residents, and condolence to the deceased. We shall give supports to the victims and look forward to a more efficient monitoring and stringent guideline with proper implementation by the state government / local council, to overcome such problems in hillslope development in future.

GOHHOEHOE said...

Dato Dr.Chua Soi Lek

Very happy to learn that you had attended the BN component parties meeting yesterday.At least I can see some positive change , but that is not enough.
Had the Bukit Antarabangsa Tragedy been touched during the meeting.I think it should have been mentioned if not discussed in detail.Not far from Bukit Antarabangsa ,the similar tragedy happened in 1993, the collapse of highland tower.I think these incidences must be viewed very seriously. Immediate actions should be taken to identify areas vunerable to landslide in our country.Look for the help of foreign expert if necessary.

We would be glad if you can brief us in this blog the progress of Barisan component meeting which took place yesterday

el said...

hey, we want to see the real report for highland tower. then we will know why it happened and who is responsible.

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