KUALA LUMPUR: Landslides are a frequent incidence in Malaysia and most of the time, they end result within the lack of lives and trigger a lot injury to property and infrastructure.
A few of the lethal landslides witnessed by the nation embrace the current tragedy at Father’s Natural Farm in Batang Kali, Selangor, on Dec 16 which value 31 lives and the Highland Towers catastrophe in Ulu Kelang right here on Dec 11, 1993, that claimed 48 lives.
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On Dec 6, 2008, a landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa right here destroyed 14 homes, killing 4 individuals and injuring 17.
The earliest deadly landslide recorded in Malaysia passed off on Dec 17, 1919, at Bukit Tunggal in Ipoh, Perak, the place 12 individuals perished within the incident that was attributable to a falling block of limestone.
Consultants warn that Malaysia will proceed witnessing slope failures as a consequence of varied components, the principle one being world local weather change which is already inflicting unusually heavy rainfall on this nation.
The Minerals and Geoscience Division was reported as saying that through the north-east monsoon interval between November 2021 and March 2022, Malaysia recorded 23 instances of landslides.
The division additionally detected 31 landslide hotspots final yr.
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Environmentally Delicate Areas
Commenting on the Dec 16 Batang Kali tragedy, head of the Atmosphere and Sustainability Cluster on the Academy of Professors Malaysia Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo was quoted as saying that it was attributable to saturated soil as a consequence of steady rain within the space.
He mentioned the saturated soil weakened the soil construction and triggered the slope there to develop into unstable.
World Broad Fund for Nature (WWF)-Malaysia conservation director Dr Henry Chan mentioned when an environmentally delicate space (ESA) corresponding to a slope is “disturbed” for growth functions, it could actually trigger the soil there to develop into unstable.
He mentioned any growth in an ESA should be performed in accordance with the rating assigned to it by the authorities.
ESAs are ranked in three classes: class one, no growth, agriculture or logging shall be permitted; class two, no growth or agriculture however sustainable logging and low-impact tourism could also be permitted topic to native constraints; and class three, managed growth is allowed the place the sort and depth shall be strictly managed relying on the character of the constraints.
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Chan informed Bernama it was essential for highlands to be forested because the bushes assist to mitigate the results of runoff water through the wet season.
“Forests can retain extra rainwater, forestall extreme water move and cut back injury from floods. They will additionally assist to scale back the results of droughts.
“Flash floods and landslides will happen if our forests are destroyed,” he mentioned, including that the federal government should strengthen the fourth Nationwide Bodily Plan (NPP), notably with regard to ESAs, to make sure developments are carried out in a sustainable method with out leading to lack of biodiversity.
Give state governments extra energy
Forestry skilled and former director-general of the Forest Analysis Institute of Malaysia Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor instructed that enforcement issues pertaining to land growth be handed over to the state governments.
“We have already got good legal guidelines and enactments to guard the atmosphere however the implementation of the laws and enforcement involved should be handed over to the respective state authorities as they’ve absolute authority over land issues.
“Enforcement should be performed totally on the state degree for it to be efficient,” he pressured.
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In line with Salleh, though Malaysia has stringent legal guidelines and laws to manage growth actions in prohibited areas, the extent of compliance, nonetheless, remains to be weak.
He additionally didn’t dismiss the opportunity of corrupt components having a hand within the incidence of pure disasters corresponding to landslides.
“To flee authorized motion, some individuals pay sure events which might be prepared to just accept (bribes)… when this occurs, guidelines are violated and developments are carried out with out adhering to the required requirements.
“It’s not like they (builders) are usually not conscious of the laws. Everybody is aware of they wish to take the straightforward manner out to guard their very own pursuits.
“We should put a cease to this tradition of corruption, in any other case extra protected areas shall be exploited and pure disasters corresponding to landslides and flash floods will proceed to happen and trigger deaths,” he mentioned.
Keep away from shortcuts
Planters Worldwide Bhd chairman Prof M Sadruddin, in the meantime, mentioned any growth plan involving forested hilly areas and slopes should be studied rigorously earlier than it’s authorised by the authorities.
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He mentioned landslides happen when slope administration will not be carried out correctly and developments are usually not carried out in accordance with the authorised plans.
“For instance, there are builders who take shortcuts by continuing with the development with out even ready to get the inexperienced gentle (from the authorities) or perform the event with out following the schedule or chop down the bushes with out approval.
“Such acts can result in slope failure… unplanned growth may cause landslides, motion of groundwater and bushes to fall, which could be life-threatening if there are settlements close by,” he mentioned.
M Sadruddin mentioned any type of growth, significantly in an ESA, must be audited by a 3rd get together to stop irregularities or battle of curiosity.
“The state authorities can appoint a personal audit agency to hold out an audit when it comes to the (undertaking’s) planning, EIA (environmental influence evaluation) report preparation and approval and in addition when the event is in progress by conducting website visits to make sure they adjust to the established requirements.
“Ought to there be any mishap as a consequence of a landslide, the authorities should take the mandatory motion,” he added. – Bernama