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Bukit Kukus landslide: Contractor failed to comply with guidelines

Resource from: New Straits Times, Original Article


GEORGE TOWN: The contractor of the Bukit Kukus paired road project had failed to adhere to four guidelines throughout the course of construction and this possibly resulted in the landslide.

State Public Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said this was identified following a spot check by the Erosion and Sediment Control Committee on Oct 8.

He said among the failures were leaving the upper part of the land exposed without mulching or installation of grass, and not covering the slopes with geotextile material.

“The contractor also failed to install a silt fence at the slopes at the project site. Sediment pond, erosion pond and other components also failed to fulfil the guidelines of the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP).

“All these non-compliances are found to be the reasons for the landslide incident, with the checks done at the highest plot of the project site.

“Following that, a notice has been issued to the contractor to comply with all the guidelines within 14 days. Failure to do so will see the committee penalising the contractor, including compound fines and a stop-work order,” he said.

So far, the bodies of nine of the contractor’s workers have been pulled out after they were buried alive by the landslide which occurred on Friday.

Previously, the Mineral and Geoscience Department had found a natural stream flowing downhill, sparking fears that more landslides at the Bukit Kukus hill could be triggered.

Zairil said the contractor also failed to alert the authorities about the stream, and whether technical works had been done or needed to be done to stop or divert it to the other side of the construction area.

“The inspection of the site was done based on the report received from the Penang Hill Watch, which highlighted that this could happen, back in Sept 28. However, we did not have the project construction plan and the inspection was only done based on the (ESCP).

“We will not compromise with any non-compliance at any project sites in the state,” he added.

Asked if the state government would be taking action against the contractor, he said the decision had yet to be finalised, pending a full report on the incident.

“We are also unsure if the project can go on or otherwise because the report has yet to be completed. What I can say is that for now the project will go on until a final decision is made later.

“Appropriate action will be taken against the contractor if there is evidence of professional negligence at the site. However we will let the investigation be completed first,” he said.

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