Saturday, December 06, 2008

Too soon to probe cause of landslide: Public Works Dept


PUTRAJAYA: It is still too soon to know or carry out an investigation into the cause of the massive landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa as the Public Works Department is mainly engaged in search and rescue work.

Its deputy director-general N. Selvanayagam said the department was currently assisting the police and the Fire and Rescue Department in their search efforts for landslide victims.

“We are currently in the first phase of the operations, which is search and rescue of all victims. We have identified the scar zone of the landslide area and are now monitoring the slope for any potential high risk to areas adjoining the site.

“This will be a continuous review and assessment of the danger because we don’t want the slope to collapse on the rescue personnel as well,” he said in an interview from the landslide site on Saturday.

Selvanayagam said the department was also providing the rescue personnel with equipment such as excavators and lorries to transport the soil and rubble from the site.

“At the same time, we are identifying the routes of the drainage in the area so that there won’t be any further impounding of water. Only after all this is completed, can we conduct a probe on the cause of the landslide.

“At present, it is too early to say anything,” he said, adding that the department had mobilised staff from its branches in Selangor and Gombak for the operation.

“Besides staff from these two branches, we have workers from our Roads and Slopes Division to help the police. This is just the first group of people we sent out today.

“We will ask for more deployment if necessary because we need to provide supervision on the slopes at all times,” he said.

Selvanayagam said the continuous monitoring was also necessary as the Bukit Antarabangsa area had been hit several times by landslide, the most recent of which was in Kg Pasir nearby.

When contacted, Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed, who is currently in Mecca, said he had already informed his officers to provide him with the latest reports on the landslide.

“I will be getting all the details from the officer. I will fly back immediately after the haj,” he said.

Too soon to probe cause of landslide: Public Works Dept
Malaysia Star, Malaysia

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