Why wasn’t public warning given of a possible rockfall (with some boulders as large double-storey houses) at NKVE for some 72 hours or proactive action taken to prevent its occurrence?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said that round-the-clock monitoring carried out since Sunday had prevented “a terrible accident from happening” in the major rockslide at the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) near the Bukit Lanjan interchange, which brought down 20,000 tonnes of boulders and soil to make the eight-lane expressway impassable.
Samy Vellu said the monitoring was being carried out because some small rocks had fallen from the slope. He said the monitoring helped prevent the loss of life by giving advance warning on soil movement.
It is quite dubious as to whether Samy Vellu had succeeded in allaying public concerns about the culture and standard of maintenance or crisis management of the expressway by PLUS and the supervision by the Highway Authority, as there is nagging public suspicion that both had trifled with human lives and public safety.
Three questions that cry out for answer are:
Firstly, If there were already signs on Sunday of a possible rockfall, which could precipitate a disaster with terrible toll on human lives ( with some of the boulders as large as double-storey houses), why wasn’t any public warning given for some 72 hours?
Secondly, why didn’t PLUS and the authorities take proactive action to prevent the rockslide – as they seemed to have adopted the passive and even fatalist attitude of just waiting for the rockslide to take place.
Thirdly, when was the Malaysian Highway Authority and Samy Vellu informed of the possible rockslide at the NKVE and did they give any input on the proper crisis management of the potential disaster, and if so, what was their input. Did Samy Vellu agree that PLUS should wait passively and fatalistically for the inevitable to take place?
Yesterday, Samy Vellu boarded a PLUS Expressways Bhd Agusta executive helicopter for an aerial view of the affected hillslope. He also took to the skies in a PLUS helicopter for two hours on Monday to watch the Hari Raya traffic movement at the North-South Expressway. Why didn’t he inspect on Monday the affected Bukit Lanjan hillslope to verify whether excessive water on the upper portion of the hill posed a disaster for the expressway users – so as to devise proactive measures to avert such a rockslide?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman