One after another, Tanjung Bungah Penang tragedy “mystery” is revealed behind the landslide that killed 11 people. In the incident, 11 construction workers were buried when the hillside near the project collapsed.
Soon after the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry published a statement that they have rejected the developer’s application to build a residential project at landslide site as it was located close to a permanent granite quarry in Teik Granite Quarry that began operations in 1960, a mind-boggling question that crops from everyone is who else approved the luxury project other than the DAP-led government and Guan Eng as the Chief Minister.
The ministry confirmed receiving the application for planning permission from the developer on January 9, 2015 and rejected by the Department of Environment on 23 January of the same year. The quarry site exercises their blasting activities twice a month and most recently was on October 9.
The reasons given to decline the application was due to the fact that there is no buffer zone between the apartment project and the nearby quarry activity area. As such it was clearly indicated to be a compulsory requirement by the Site Guidelines and Zoning Industry & Residential Area. Excavation activities are only 162 meters away from the crushing site and between 400m to 500m from the blasting site. Therefore, it is not a conducive situation to ensure safety and peaceful for the people to live.
Even though Lim Guan Eng tried to ease the issue by claiming that the incident was just a workplace accident, however, numerous quarters including residents of Tanjung Bungah were disappointed with the state government’s enthusiasm to approve the project.
Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu, who is known to be disfavored by Guan Eng for his firm assertion of the island’s environmental issue is among those who slammed the state’s administration for their snobbish approach and stubborn attitude. In fact, the tragedy of 11 victims buried in a landslide at housing construction project in Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah was among the most protested projects by Teh Yee Cheu.
Over the past three years, protests have been made through various channels including in the State Assembly sitting and letters to the state government but to no avail. Instead, these opposed projects are approved further. At present, there are at least three high-risk hillside housing projects that are causing the landslides.
It is astonishing when there are 10 more hillside housing projects in the area that are in the process of approval by the state government. Each project was opposed by the locals but was conveniently ignored by the higher authorities concerned.
No doubt that the hillside area in Tanjung Bungah is a strategic area to earn handsome profits since it has high property values. Should this be the very reason why Guan Eng and DAP are greedy enough to profiteering for more construction projects? Having confirmed 11 lives lost due to the landslide tragedy at Lengkok Lembah Permai, is Guan Eng with his usual antics, escape from facing responsibilities?
If not Guan Eng who grants this project, who else?