Engineers Found Guilty Of Gross Negligence In Tg Bungah Landslide




After months of speculation, the Penang government finally released the recommendations of the state commission of inquiry into the 2017 Tanjung Bungah landslide which killed 11
However, the SCI found no wrongdoing on the part of developer Taman Sri Bunga Sdn Bhd and main building works contractors BSG Global Builders Sdn Bhd
Its findings pointed to the engineers hired by the contractors, who were said to be responsible for the incident
The 116-page report alleged that Perunding KAA Sdn Bhd consultant engineer Khoo Koon Tai was “primarily responsible” for a total of 15 negligent acts, which led to the massive landslide on Oct 21, 2017

Khoo is also said to have allowed workers to work near the landslide area despite knowing it was not safe
"Khoo carried out remote supervision of the site via WhatsApp. It was negligence of the worst kind,” it stated
The SCI recommended charges for Khoo under Section 304A of the Penal Code for causing death by negligence, which is punishable by up to two years’ jail and/or a fine
It also recommended disciplinary action against him by the Board of Engineers (BEM)
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (photo), who released the report in Komtar today, said copies have been sent to the relevant authorities including the police, Attorney-General’s Chambers and BEM
"The report carries nine recommendations, including the nine experts who attended the hearing of the SCI
"It was based on findings of the SCI, which was conducted in 2018, for 26 days, involving the hearing of testimonies from 28 witnesses and nine experts
"We hope the family and loved ones of the victims of the landslide find closure in the recommendations of the SCI. We also offer our condolences to them," he said
The 11 victims comprised one Malaysian, four Bangladeshis, three Myanmar, two Indonesians, and one Pakistani
The SCI was conducted in January 2018 by former Bar Council chairperson Yeoh Yang Poh, engineer Gue See Sew and academician Ramli Nasir
The Tanjung Bungah Residents Association also provided its recommendations in the report
Design engineer Victor Ong, meanwhile, was found to be “contributorily negligent” for allowing excavation to be carried out without any engineering calculations
The Safety and Health Department was also found to be negligent in not paying heed to the dangers posed by the unsafe slope
According to the SCI report, Dosh did not issue a “prohibition order,” despite a BSG Global Builders safety officer telling them the site was unsafe
“Whenever man fiddles with nature, it is man who must be extra careful. It will be man who must take full responsibility for its consequences," reads the executive summary of the SCI report
“Nature cannot be blamed when it is tinkered with. The force and physic of nature will react, to man’s tinkering. An engineer, of all, people, must know that
“The landslide that morning did not simply develop overnight. It was a disaster which had been waiting to happen, for a period of time
“It was heralded by ample warnings from Mother Nature. Those warnings, sadly, went either unheeded, or improperly and inadequately heeded"
The incident involved the collapse of a 10m hill slope next to the construction site of a condominium project in Tanjung Bungah, which is located near Tunku Abdul Rahman College campus
The report said five incidents before the Oct 21 landslide served as "a repeated" warning of impending disaster, but these were ignored. The full SCI report can be purchased from Level 3 of Komtar.  - Mkini

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