By Sharan Raj (Central Committee, Parti Sosialis Malaysia)
There has been a series of landslides causing loss of lives, homes and public infrastructure, the most recent being at Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley heading toward Cameron Highlands on September 18, 2021.
The series of landslides arise from poor prevention works. In fact, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) had raised the red flag on the future risk from slopes on July 17, 2020.
According to Pelan Induk Cerun Negara (PICN 2009-2023) overdevelopment and construction near hill slopes increases risk of landslides. Putrajaya therefore needs to curtail property development by developers near hill slopes.
Meanwhile, existing slopes need to undergo routine preventative works to protect lives, homes, and public infrastructure.
On February 2, 2004, the Federal Executive Cabinet approved the establishment of Cawangan Kejuruteraan Cerun (CKC) under JKR.
This was in direct response to the rockfall landslide at KM21.8 (Bukit Lanjan) on the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) that occurred on November 26, 2003. CKC-JKR manages, controls, and supervises slopes to avoid future tragedies.
According to the Slope Management Guidelines (Part 3) dated August 2006, CKC-JKR must conduct routine slope maintenance at least once (1) a year for category 1 and 2 slopes, and twice a year for category 3 slopes.
Between 2007 to 2012, the routine preventative maintenance was conducted properly. However, this was stopped since 2013 due to deep budget cuts imposed by the Najib Razak administration.
According to CKC-JKR, there are 946 high risk slopes in Semenanjung with 20% of it located within three districts; Cameron Highlands, Kinta, and Gombak.
In 2018, CKC was supposed to conduct landslide prevention work on all 946 high risk slopes, but less than 6% of the slopes were completed. There was no preventative work done in Pahang and one preventative work was completed in Selangor.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has granted the concession to Pintas Utama Sdn Bhd (301524-V) through direct negotiation to undertake slope maintenance and repair worth nearly RM900 million for a period of 36 months from November 1, 2017.
The Auditor General’s Report Series 3 highlighted that the concession contractor does not have the sufficient capability to conduct slope prevention works as planned by CKC-JKR.
Putrajaya needs to stop policies such as the privatisation of slope management and austerity cuts before more people die from landslides.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Ipoh Echo.