Home Civil Society Voices Penang landslide: Why press ahead with hillside road despite risks?

Penang landslide: Why press ahead with hillside road despite risks?

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The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress is horrified with Penang Island Mayor Yew Tung Seang’s statement that the road project at Bukit Kukus must go on regardless of anything.

Is the honourable mayor taking the position that, regardless of the real possibility of workers dying on the job, work must go on? Bearing in mind that hill-slope soil mitigation measures are non-existent at the work site, let alone in all other hillside development projects, it is beyond comprehension that the mayor thinks otherwise. His position is like saying that where even fools dare not venture, he will do so!

So much for the concept of accountability that the Pakatan Harapan administration has been shouting about.

The misplaced stand of the Penang Island mayor notwithstanding, Penang MTUC reiterates its demand that all work in progress on all hill-slope development in Penang be stopped with immediate effect.

On this issue, we demand that the Department Of Occupational and Safety issues a stop-work order on, not only at the work site in question, but all other hill development sites in Penang. This can be done because the jurisdiction to do so is vested with the department under a relevant provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and not the Penang state government or the ‘decorated’ mayor!

If the department fails to institute such stop work orders it had better close shop so that taxpayers’ money can be used for other causes.

Penang MTUC also calls upon the human resources minister, under whose jurisdiction the department is parked, to direct that the full provisions of the law be enforced without political inclination because the real concerns are workers’ lives. Any default in the matter would only be a manifestation of the minister’s and the department’s lack of conviction in the administration of law in the matter.

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K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.

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