Monday May 18, 2009 – TheStar Online


CONCERNED over their own safety and wanting to minimise occurrences of landslides, the Coalition of Bukit Antarabangsa Residents’ Association (CoBARA) has launched its own Community SlopeWatch programme to further empower the residents.

The programme is meant to foster closer efforts among residents of the nine residential areas represented under CoBARA in monitoring slopes within their neighbourhood and reporting any signs of slope failure.

Following last year’s tragic landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa, the coalition decided it was time they did something to ensure such incidents did not recur.

CoBARA chairman Shahrul Hafiz Teh Abdullah said the tragedy was a lesson to be learnt and the coalition wanted to take a more procative approach by encouraging members to be alert and watchful for signs of slope failure.

“This programme is also about cultivating good neighbourliness, whereby residents can act as a channel of communication in providing timely information to their respective residents’ associations to alert the relevant authorities to act.

“A safer living environment is what residents in Bukit Antarabangsa need,” Shahrul Hafiz Teh said during the launch of the programme at Sinaran Ukay Condominium.

Sponsoring the programme’s initial kick-off phase is The Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW) Malaysia City Group, which had raised RM14,000 via the auction of an art piece at a golf tournament organised by the institute.

The money was disbursed through Force of Nature Aid Foundation, a Malaysian non-profit agency that empowers survivors of disasters worldwide to rebuild their lives.

ICAEW Malaysia City Group chairman Datuk Gan Ah Tee said the programme was a good starting point, whereby residents were empowering themselves to look into their safety and comfort so that nothing was left to chance.

Force of Nature Aid Foundation board of trustees member Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir, who launched the programme, said the organisation had thus far focused mainly on major disasters overseas, funding some 30 projects abroad so far.

“We thought it was time we started looking at funding local projects, and we have done so with a mangrove project in Kuala Gula and a river auditing project in Pagoh, Johor. Today, Bukit Antarabangsa is one of our latest involvements, and, hopefully, through this programme, we will be better prepared to prevent similar tragedies,” he said.

Community SlopeWatch Pro-gramme project manager Eriko Motoyama, who is also from the slope engineering branch of the Public Works Department (PWD), said that the Phase 1 programme would comprise four seminars to disseminate information on signs of impending landslides to everyone.

The nine areas under CoBARA are Taman Bukit Utama Phase 1, Taman Bukit Utama Phase 2, Taman Puncak Bukit Utama, Laman Oakleaf, Taman Bukit Jaya, Sinaran Ukay Condominium, Kyoto Gardens, Oakleaf Park, and Impian Selatan.

Present at the launch were Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali, Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster fund chairman Datuk Ismail Kijo and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) deputy president Abd Hamid Hussain.