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Streamlining hillslope development guidelines

IPOH, 16 Jan 2009 The Housing and Local Government Ministry and Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will discuss streamlining their guidelines on development on hillslopes at a special meeting this month.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said the meeting was called following a number of landslip incidents, especially the one in Bukit Antarabangsa in December, and the rockfall at the Perak Cave Temple on 12 Jan to prevent such incidents from recurring.

“Streamlining of the guidelines is necessary as currently the guidelines of the two ministries are different from each other. For example, my ministry’s guideline does not allow for any development on a 35-degree slope and above, but the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry allows it,” he said after opening the wishing pond of the Tai Pak Koong temple, here, today.

He said monitoring aspects, inspections and regular studying of the slopes as well as visits to highly risky hilly sites twice yearly would also be discussed at the meeting involving various agencies, including the Department of Environment, Town and Country Planning Department and the Minerals and Geoscience Department.

Besides that, Ong said his ministry would also hold discussions with the Slope Engineering Division of the Works Ministry to obtain input and maps of the high-risk areas.

“If at the early stage, we find that there are problems at certain hillslope areas, then we can identify the causes of the soil instability and its effects for immediate remedial action to be taken,” he said.

Ong said in the discussion with the Works Ministry, it was also decided that the relevant agencies would identify the authority with the power to oversee the hillslopes and given allocations to carry out work to stabilise them.

“At the moment, there is no one particular authority responsible for monitoring such areas and carrying out immediate remedial work if necessary, like in Hongkong. So, we need to have an agency for the specific job.”

Ong said he learnt that the Works Ministry was in the process of issuing the study report on last month’s tragic landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa.

He said the report, prepared by the ministry’s Slope Engineering Division, had been received by the cabinet with more meticulous conclusions and recommendations being made before the report could be made public. — Bernama


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