Friday, December 12, 2008

Landslide Survivor Wises Up To Umno

Malaysiakini today carried a story on Ungku Farid Ungku Abdul who lost his home and Indonesian housemaid last Saturday to the devastating landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa. As a service to those who haven't yet subscribed to Malaysiakini, I'm reproducing the item in full. Here's one wise Malaysian who has learned a hard lesson from this totally avoidable calamity. For decades the MPAJ (Ampang Jaya Municipal Council) has behaved like an Umno mafia under the political patronage of a succession of former Mentris Besar - which explains why greedy developers have been allowed to carry on with reckless hillside projects despite the grave warning of the horrific 1993 Highland Towers collapse...

“The developers go all out with their ‘predatory’ marketing to sell their projects. This must have been with the approval of state authorities,” he said.

“And if the state authorities had approved these hillside projects, they must have known the consequences of such development.

“So why didn't they tell us the risks? You cannot expect home buyers to hire engineering experts to ensure that their houses are safe! We need them to tell us!”

While bitter about these and other unanswered questions, Farid said he is now considerably more rational - and politically inclined - compared to before the landslide.

Unlike other residents who have signaled intent to sue the authorities, Farid said he can only afford to raise his questions and demands before the public. However, he also said it is within his capacity to try and prevent similar incidents.

Among his first steps will be to ensure that politicians - like those who approved the development projects in Bukit Antarabangsa - are not placed in decision making positions.

Asked what this means in concrete terms, Farid said he would start by campaigning against Umno in the upcoming Kuala Terengganu by-election by telling voters the dangers of keeping the party in power.

“The occurrence has been grievous to all of us, but there’s nothing more I can do to get our life back as it was before the landslide,” he said.

“We fell victim to the incestuous relationship of our politicians and businessmen. This is not a ‘natural’ disaster as they claim, because it was human failings that caused it. The least I can do is ensure that (other) Malaysians do not suffer as we have.”

‘Common sense suspended’

Farid, who bought his house 16 years ago, claimed that he had found out too late about ‘irregularities’ in the development projects in Bukit Antarabangsa.

State forestry officials had allegedly told him a few days ago that his house stands on a de-gazetted forest reserve, and that the whole of what is now Bukit Antarabangsa was once a water catchment area.

He also referred to the difficulties faced by more than 1,500 residents after the landslide. They could not leave their homes, as the sole access road to their houses and apartments was blocked.

“Why was there only one access road in the first place? How could the local authorities approve development projects with only one access road?

“Why are they talking about access roads and bridges only now? Is it because access roads and bridges would have cost the developers money, so they put off building these?”

Farid further questioned if environmental impact assessment studies had been carried out, given that several different projects have been, and are still being carried out, in Bukit Antarabangsa,

“Why are they going about these projects in bits and pieces? Did they or didn’t they have an overall plan for the whole area?”

“From this incident, we have found that common sense had been in suspension, the role of greed was prominent, and there was a complete lack of ethics on the part of business interests and politicians. Where were the regulators in all of this?”


Bukit Antarabangsa - Multiple Tragedy I (10 Dec 2008)
Bukit Antarabangsa - Multiple Tragedy II (13 Dec 2008)
Bukit Antarabangsa - Multiple Tragedies III (14 Dec 2008)


Donplaypuks® said...

There can be no doubt that this debacle is the result of an unholy collusion of corruption among property developers, architects, consultants, politicians and the Local Authority concerned.

Had the LA adhered strictly to density guidlines, soil investigation and other development regulations before issuing CF and handing over the keys, landslides on this scale would have been averted. Instead they continued approving more and more projects on dangerous hill slopes while closing one eye to safety issues.

Now we these obscene politicians diverting lame on to the buyers who always rely on the S&P agreement and warranties as they are entitled to.

More than that, we now have the sleeping PM saying PKR should take responsibilty when they have been in power for les than a year, while BN and Toyo, 2 Mohd and others have held the reins for 50 years and should be strung by their goolies for the damage and suffering they have caused.

Have you ever come across a more thieving, heartless bunch than these, ever?

Pat said...

If ever there was a crappy judgement handed down by the courts here, this one on the Highland Towers is it!

How can the local councils be not responsible? Where is the accountability then? If the people who approve these things are free to do whatever they please without accountability - then what happened in Bukit Antarabangsa is the result.

And did I hear a minister say that it was not anyone's fault? Something about... if it was, it'd have happened 2 years ago, and not now???! Omg, that's so incredulous, words fail me!

Perhaps you should send them the wiki search on the words 'water catchment area' lah, Antares. Then, maybe lah, they'd understand why the water 'catches' here, and the land 'slides'. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Antares, as always a good read!
The area surrounding Bkt. AB had already been rendered fragile by the construction of the Klang Gates Dam 40-50 yrs ago.....& only sparse 'development'was allowed when we lived in times more respectful of our land!!
Single road Tamans by design make it easier for the uncivil FRU, RELA etc to 'kepong' & control civilians.

TheWhisperer said...

And Pak Lah wasn't sleeping when he made that speech in Jakarta hurling ammos at Selangor state government. He was indirectly directing it at Mamak Kutty's administration during those time.

He can't be that stupid, can he?

gua bo tai (buah petai ) said...

Alas.."sigh" "sigh"...bussiness & politics are inevitable...therefore..NO BUYERS= NO SELLERS. I'ts a tragedy indeed.....

Gerald Wee Eng Kian said...

Something just occurred to me when Bukit Antarabangsa and the surrounding was declared a danger zone. That we suddenly have in our country a "No Man's Land".

What does this mean? Other than being declared unfit for human habitation and must be cleared of people, it is also a place where the rule of law will cease to apply. Enter at your own risk the sign will say. Danger, trespassers will be prosecuted.

However, in the absence of order chaos will rule supreme. Police and military presence will eventually retreat from the area. Only the hardy, the foolhardy and the existing criminal elements will remain. Crime bosses and DVD pirates will have a gala time because it will be the one place in Malaysia that the law will refuse to go.

The ultimate tragedy? This housing project is about 20 years old. The people who initially buy them are probably civil servants and professionals looking into a decent retirement home.

By now, most of them have sunk 2 decades of their resources and working effort into the mortgage, the irony being that it would have been paid up by now so that they can claim full ownership. Today, instead of a comfortable home for the rest of their lives they get slum property that is sinking in value.

So congratulation BN, your decision has entitled you to join countries like Rwanda and Zimbabwe in creating refugees in the country. These people cannot leave and soon it will be illegal for them to stay despite their rights. Don't worry, in 5 years time when someone forgets why the land there is so cheap for developing that free zone, it'll be available for a dime. After all, throw enough money at something and any problem can be solved. Malaysia Boleh.

Except the earth never forgets. We can still find evidence that a genocidal meteor hit the planet 65 million years ago. BN and their collective incompetent ass has less of a chance to hide this than an ancient cataclysm.

Susan said...
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