Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) calls on the Selangor state government to conduct a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Taman Bukit Permai, Ampang landslide tragedy which has claimed four lives and has led to the evacuation of 48 homes in the landslide zone due to safety concerns.
In order to prevent a repeat of such tragedies, a COI needs to be conducted to get to the root causes of the landslide, if there was negligence by anyone including the authorities, what remedial and preventive measures are needed, including if existing laws and guidelines on hill land protection and slope safety are sufficient or need improvements.
This is especially needed given that the Ampang area is very prone to landslides, as evident from the Highland Towers collapse in 1993 and it appears that lessons have not been learnt from the tragedy which claimed 48 lives.
We do have to get to the bottom of this, and not simply attribute such landslides to intense rainfalls. The frequency and intensity of rainfalls will increase, given the impacts of climate change. What is needed is to ensure that we embark on a climate resilient development pathway, as pointed out by the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Such a COI is not new. In Penang following a landslide tragedy which claimed 11 lives in 2017, a COI was conducted and this led to improvements to hillslope guidelines, and which found the consultant engineer hired by the developer responsible for negligence.We must prevent future tragedies, as we continue to undertake remedial measures to ensure the safety of residents in the landslide zone.