Stringent measures should be implemented here as well!
Sunday, November 24, 2002
‘Have soil testing measures’
PETALING JAYA: Stringent soil testing measures conducted in Cameron Highlands should be emulated in Kuala Lumpur and here for hillside development projects to prevent the recurrence of the Taman Hillview bungalow tragedy, said soil erosion research expert Tew Kia Hui.
He said in the highlands, before attaining a building approval plan, it was compulsory for developers to conduct soil erosion testing, obtain approval for both the earthworks plan, and road and drainage plan.
“The tests cover areas such as slope stability, erosion problems and composition of rocks and minerals located in a particular hillside. Mapping is also conducted to identify the low-risk or high-risk areas.
“If an area is found to be a high-risk area, mitigation measures can be recommended for implementation,” he added, saying that he had already conducted tests for eight projects in the highlands.
Tew said such testing was not mandatory for hillside projects located in Kuala Lumpur and here, adding that it was up to the local authorities to recommend them as they were responsible for granting approvals for development in these areas.
“The authorities would only suggest such testing on a case-by-case basis. It is important in light of the bungalow tragedy on Wednesday to study the safety aspects of hillside developments before any construction is carried,” he said, adding that soil testing should be carried out before the proposed housing project in Taman Tun Abdul Razak should take place.
Tew was also commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suggestion that proper soil and topography studies be carried out on all hillside development projects to prevent any further untoward incidents.
On Wednesday, a landslide flattened Affin Bank Bhd chairman Jen (R) Tan Sri Ismail Omar’s bungalow in Taman Hillview and claimed eight lives.
Tew said these strict measures were implemented in Cameron Highlands since two years ago, when environmental organisations and local authorities focused their attention on the illegal hill clearing problems there.
The Cabinet Committee on Highlands and Island Development was then formed to address the conditions and monitor such illegal activities.
Tew said the cost of conducting soil tests was minimal compared to the total cost of a project, making it affordable for all developers.
When asked if the testing in the highlands was independent and bias-free, he said the soil tests would be compiled into a report to be examined by agencies such as the Cameron Highland’s district council, Department of Environment, Drainage and Irrigation Department and the Cabinet Committee.
“If they find any discrepancies in the reports, a review will be made and additional testing can be conducted before any approval is given.”
there are more than enough guidelines rules and regulations for all kinds of everything. whats actually missing are - firstly enforcement - not even after a mishap for mishaps only lead to finger pointing to pick out scapegoats. more importantly is the very sad fact that there is REALLY NO POLITICAL WILL to equate words with action.
do we really need soil tests when eias are but formalities and there is possibility that eias are tailor made for favour the mighty (of the day)? go make friends with the mah chais who are involved in eias - u'd learn more than u can chew.
on the other hand too is the nincompoops who have the stupid guts to demand living in such suspect environment. as in the recent hillview tragedy, there were 2 respectable architects building their own house just 300m from a known unstable slope. it might sound callous crude and wretched but geologists and other experts might probably be saying that they expedited digging their own grave.
what else can u and i ask for but pray that almighty god will give all mankind equally humble brains. and corruption free politics. maybe as a hari raya gift. or a christmas blessing.