Investigation report on Bukit Kukus landslide should be made public, says Penang Forum

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GEORGE TOWN (Oct 26): The Penang Forum, a coalition of public-interest civil society groups, said the minutes and notes on the investigation on the Bukit Kukus landslide should be made public and should not be bound by secrecy laws.

Penang Forum member Khoo Salma Nasution said it was for the interest of transparency and members of such commissions.

"We ask the authorities to include at least two members from Penang Forum, an engineer and a lawyer, to sit on any panel, State or Federal, investigating the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy," she told reporters after organising a peaceful gathering held in front of City Hall, here today.

About 100 members of Penang Forum, individuals and non-governmental organisations attended the gathering to show solidarity for victims of Bukit Kukus landslide.

On Wednesday (Oct 24), Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that a special committee had been set up to investigate the cause of the landslide which took the lives of nine foreign workers at the construction site of the paired highway in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong.

Khoo Salma said the Penang Forum also urged the state and federal authorities to launch thorough investigations on the incident and identified those in the chain of responsibility who might be charged with negligence.

"We urge the authorities to call for explanations, open up records and even demand resignations if necessary. We urge that the authorities impose the maximum penalties as a deterrent to prevent such needless loss of lives in future," she said.

Meanwhile, Chow when met after opening the Institute of Engineering Malaysia (IEM) Penang Branch here today said the state government would consider the Penang Forum's proposal.

"This is an internal investigation. It is not something like the Suruhanjaya Siasatan. We will consider the proposal from the Penang Forum," he said.

Chow said two IEM's Penang Branch representatives, its chairman Ting Chek Choon and its in-coming chairman Yau Ann Nian will assist in the investigation of the incident under a special committee that had been set up on Wednesday to investigate the cause of the landslide.

The landslide incident was reported to have taken place at the Bukit Kukus Twin Highway project construction site on Friday in which nine were killed and four injured. The incident, which took place at 1.56 pm, also engulfed 13 containers and a kongsi house.