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Special entity to oversee hillside development

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Feb 2009: The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) today called on the government to urgently set up a special accredited agency to oversee and approve all hillside developments.

In the meantime all development on hill slopes and hill sides should be temporarily suspended, its president, Datuk N Marimuthu said.

He told Bernama that the agency should be tasked to develop mandatory standards and enforce them to ensure no landslides occurred.

He was commenting on the announcement by Works Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed, that there would not be a blanket ban on hillside development.

The minister was quoted as saying that a total ban would be a waste of land and instead proposed an immediate halt on the tip fill techniques during construction at hillslopes which he said was the cause of landslides in Ulu Klang.

Marimuthu said the proposed agency should have at least one independent representative who did not have any vested interest.

Marimuthu said whatever the government’s decision, one thing that was certain is that “no development should be allowed near water catchment areas”.  

“There should in fact be a total permanent ban on development in such areas because it was too risky as it would destabilise our already scarce water resources,” he cautioned.

Since all development approval rests with local authorities, he suggested that these entities should employ enough professionals to carry out scheduled inspection of hillside development in their respective areas.

As for areas which had already been developed, he suggested that developers should put in place an emergency response plan to warn residents of impending landslides. — Bernama


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