Pro: Assess soil, engineering parameters prior to development | Jobs Vox


PETALING JAYA: The Batang Kali landslide tragedy proves the need for past development history to be thoroughly documented and assessed for future development planning, says Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Faculty of Engineering Dean Professor Dr Eddie Tonijam Mohd. the wanted.

He said this is due to the many landslides in the country which involve cut and filled soil.

“Such soil is loose and highly susceptible to rain, which will further weaken the strength and eventually reduce the stability of the soil. When water flows, the soil will be more prone to wear and tear.

The point is that it is important to assess not only the soil or engineering parameters but also the previous construction work procedures, he stressed.

“With these measures in place, a more holistic assessment can be made before any future planning is undertaken.”

Recreational venues must also be inspected by qualified bodies before obtaining an operating license. Also, recreational operators should be trained to monitor and regularly test their sites and report their findings to authorities, he suggested.

Professor Eddy said tropical countries such as Malaysia are vulnerable to a variety of natural hazards due to heavy rainfall.

He said that high risk areas such as hill slopes, streams and areas near rivers need to be thoroughly identified and assessed by qualified technical personnel and departments before permission and license are granted.

“The extent of the affected area depends on the history of soil behavior and not only on the height of slope and soil engineering parameters.

“The public may not be aware of the matter, so the appropriate technical departments need to advise on and regulate the adequate buffer zone area,” he said.

Security guard Capt. Balasupramaniam agreed with Prof. AD on the role of recreational operators that they have a duty to observe around the parameters of their premises and note down their observations.

“Inspect, investigate, audit and report. These things should be part of their standard operating procedures.

“We need to come up with guidelines, yes, but operators should take responsibility if they are running a place because they have to ensure safety.

“Instead of being afraid of the authorities, it is best to work with them when they see something wrong so that they can get the support they need,” he said.

He said that just to be safe, the operators should have a registration database and mapping of the entire area and land status.

Repair work and rehabilitation should be done regularly, he said, adding feedback from guests can help them identify areas that need maintenance.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said the health ministry needs to focus on ensuring adequate air ambulance services.

This is because many hill slopes/hill or riverside resorts are located far away from health facilities and may be difficult to reach even by road in case of any emergency, he said.

As an immediate step to prevent another landslide tragedy, the MMA has urged the authorities to conduct immediate inspections on all hill slopes and hilly properties across the country, Dr. Raj said.

“There is a need to assess the risk immediately as heavy rains are expected during this time of the year. The public needs to play their part in reporting any signs of potential landslides to the authorities as there may be new undisclosed high-risk areas,” he said.


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