I read with a heavy heart Malaysiakini’s report about the landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa.

It did remind me of an old Malaysian colloquial saying …. “No come, all no come. But once come, three or four would come!”

This expression seems to apply to the recent landslides that had occurred over the past one week or so. First, it happened in Ulu Yam, just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur killing two young girls. Then it happened in the city, right between the buildings occupied by our foremost investment bank, CIMB (fortunately no casualties). And the latest taking place at the suburb called Bukit Antarabangsa or International Heights (todate 4 dead).

The latest trajedy at Bukit Antarabangsa is not very far from the more infamous one at Highland Towers, where just under 50 lives were lost in 1993.  I remember a few years later, then PM Mahathir noticed blatant clearing of hill-side areas whilst travelling in a helicopter over the same Bukit Antarabangsa area and ordering a stop to those clearing ……. but the development still carried on subsequently …. after taking “certain precautionary measures” on the part of the developers.

It is so ironic that only when lives are lost, properties damaged, thousands of people displaced that the government decides that enough is enough.

What about those cracks on the Middle Ring Road 2 at Kepong that required the access to be closed several times for rectification works? What about the hillside development at Medan Damansara that has been causing residents to cry foul of procedures not being properly adhered to? Remember the landslide near the entry point to Genting Highlands that took away lives?

How can we say that it is “First World Infrastructure but Third World Maintenance”? My God, the “Infrastructure” is also Third Rate. And that mentality permeates right through …. be it the outskirts (Ulu Yam), in the city (Jalan Semantan, Damansara) or the suburbs (Bukit Antarabangsa). Will the banning of hill-side developments really solve the core problem? See Najib’s promise here. We’ll wait and see, Najib.

I remember once as part of my job, asking a senior official/engineer of a company specialising in foundation works ….. you know, me a layman (as far as foundation work is concerned) seeking clarification on the adequacy of work done. Frustrated that he could not respond satisfactorily to my enquiries, he blurted out, “Look man, any collapse will not happen in our life-time!” At the rate that they are going, many of these calamities will take place during our life-time! It shows how our standards have seriously slipped down the scale!

And why have our standards slipped? It’s the lack of enforcement …..  and somehow this “lack of enforcement” has a close correlation with the “increase in corruption”!

This reminds me of a quote from David Putnam (now Lord) – “One of the biggest trajedy today is the inability of many people to make the connection between cause and effect.”



4 Comments so far
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Dear all,

To those who are victims from irresponsible developers, kindly put in your side of your story!

My main question is why protect the irresponsible developers when our government authorities can do the alternative?

I am sure that even if irresponsible developers on a later day repent and fix our problem, they would still drive to work in their BMWs.

What is the “Invisible Hand” that is so powerful that Government Authorities have to “KOW TAU” to these capitalists? Are they funding their campaign funds as in the US election by lobbyist kah ?

Please don’t take our lives as business decisions! The head of MPAJ should be sacked for over looking this issue that resulted in human life!

MPAJ Leader Yang Bahagia, Yang Dipertua Dato’ Mohammad Yacob – How can you sleep at night? How did the CF approved from the first place? An oversight? A inheritance from predecessors?

Tell us your story! Please!

Comment by Teo Seng Tiok

I fully agree with Tun Musa Hitam (former deputy prime minister) who said that our people never learned.

Another open question is whether the authorities are competent and if so are they free to exercise their professional expertice.

Comment by andrewchoo

[…] SC Watch comments on the recent tragedies: First, it happened in Ulu Yam, just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur […]

Pingback by Global Voices Online » Malaysia: To Live By The Slopes

[…] had raised this matter in an earlier posting (SLIDING CONNECTIONS) several years’ ago and the lessons do not appear to have […]


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