Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and the Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association (TBRA) express our shock and alarm at yet another tragedy in the Tanjung Bungah area, near the Lost Paradise Hotel which has claimed four lives yesterday.
The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has stated in a press statement that the tragedy was the result of the collapse of a retaining wall under construction at the site – which did not have any approval from the authority.
It is indeed shocking that no approval from the MBPP for the retaining wall construction was obtained by the owners who allowed the earthworks, which appeared to be going on even in the late evening.
Clearly, no lessons have been learnt from the tragic Granito landslide tragedy that happened on 21 October 2017.
SAM and TBRA call for an immediate investigation by the Penang state authorities, including the MBPP into this tragedy – and not just treat it as just another work-site incident.
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The owners responsible for this fatal event must be taken to task for violating the laws and stern action must be taken with strong penalties imposed, unlike in the Granito case, where the contractors got off with a mere RM35,000 fine.
What is also clear from this tragedy is for the authorities, especially the MBPP to take proactive measures by monitoring and inspecting all earthworks activities on the island, especially in erosion-prone areas such as in Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringi and Teluk Bahang as well as in other parts of Penang.
The MBPP must not wait for complaints or tragedies to happen before taking action, when it is dutybound to act to ensure that the laws are being complied with. Otherwise, more lives will be lost in vain.
Meenakshi Raman is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia and chairperson of Tanjung Bungah Residents Association.