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Stop hillslope development, says Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR, 6 Dec 2008: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today urged all the state governments to consider stopping housing projects on high-risk hillslopes.

“It would be good if the other state governments disallow housing developments in hilly areas. It’s not a loss, it’s for safety,” he told a news conference after visiting the site in Bukit Antarabangsa here where a landslide early this morning buried 14 bungalows and three people were confirmed dead so far.

The prime minister said that if a landslide should occur, the loss could be greater than the loss from not developing projects on high-risk land although the landowners and developers might be angry at not being allowed to proceed with their plans.

Abdullah said today’s landslide and two earlier incidents in the Klang Valley should be a signal that if serious attention was not given to the matter it could invite even greater disasters.

“We may not like to see it but if we disregard land stability, especially on hillslopes, we are actually inviting disasters and tragedies to the detriment of everyone,” he said.

He instructed experts from the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Iram) to immediately inspect and monitor the area in Bukit Antarabangsa to save the nearby housing estates.

“There are many highland areas in Selangor and the Federal Territory. Make sure that the land in all these areas is firm and there should be no more problems relating to landslides.

“If there is a likelihood of a landslide, early action should be taken,” he said.

Abdullah also ordered a stop to all development projects in Bukit Antarabangsa pending a full report from Ikram.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said six more victims were believed to be still trapped in the rubble and two of them had been located and were believed to be still alive.

He said rescue work was still going on. — Bernama


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