Well its certainly of no surprise that this insidious man was behind the approval of high-risk hillside projects as he has no conscience whatsoever and totally no regards for the safety of residents.
A total of 99 hillside projects had been approved by the Selangor government under then menteri besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, Parliament was told today.
Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-Bandar Tun Razak) said of the projects approved, 64 are on-going, 21 have yet to begin construction and three have since been abandoned.
According to Khalid, 21 of the on-going projects are under the jurisdiction of Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, with 10 in Bukit Antarabangsa – the upmarket suburb which was hit by a deadly landslide on Saturday – and 11 in nearby Taman Melawati.
However, he said that since the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition took over the state government in March, no hillside development project has been approved.
Khalid revealed the information today during the hour-long debate on an emergency motion proposed by the opposition in the wake of the deadly Bukit Antarabangsa landslide.
House speaker allowed debate
Earlier today, House speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, in a rare move, accepted the motion tabled by Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak), who is also the state assemblyperson for Bukit Antarabangsa.
In tabling his motion this morning, Azmin said the previous BN-led Selangor government leaders should be held responsible for the latest tragedy and argued that Parliament is the best venue to debate the matter.
The massive landslide which occurred at 4am on Saturday buried 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama in Bukit Antarabangsa, near Hulu Kelang.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 residents were forced to evacuate after the incident.
During the debate, both opposition and government MPs expressed their dissatisfaction with Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Chuan’s explanation on the tragedy.
Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) said that the 48 lives lost in the collapse of the Highland Towers in 1993 were in vain because of the government “sheer negligence has continued unchanged in the past 15 years”.
Lim called for the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry to probe Saturday’s tragedy and examine the reasons why the authorities have failed to learn from the Highland Towers incident.
Dr Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) demanded all projects be stopped until investigations are completed to ensure that the construction of houses in the area abide to existing guidelines.
Ong: Wait for report from special committee
However, Ong kept reiterating that a report is being done by a special committee under the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Public Works Department.
The committee, headed by the Public Works Department, includes Minerals and Geoscience Department Malaysia, Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), Malaysian Centre of Remote Sensing (MACRES), Department of Environment, Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM), the Meteorological Department and Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram).
It will also comprise of geologists from private institutions and universities and is to submit a detailed report on the incident in three months, said Ong at a press conference in the Parliament lobby.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Ali (Independent-Pasir Mas) said instead of pinpointing who was at fault, both the state and the federal governments should allocated RM50 million fund to help those affected by the landslide.
Ismail Kasim (Umno-Arau) stressed that permits should not be freely given to developers who do not abide by the regulations set by the ministry.
At the end of the session, Azmin, who proposed the debate, requested that the House be given more time to discuss the issue as more than one ministry are involved in the investigation of the tragedy.
However, this was rejected by the House speaker, who said only 60 minutes have been allocated to debate the emergency motion.