PLEA FOR HELP: Residents want authorities to regularly monitor landslide-prone areas

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Bukit Setiawangsa landslide has caused panic among residents staying at several landslide-prone areas in the Klang Valley.

Residents in Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya, Ukay Perdana and Bukit Antarabangsa are now demanding that the authorities, especially the local councils, monitor landslide-prone areas and hillslope development.

Some claimed they feel “helpless” against the wrath of Mother Nature.

The latest Setiawangsa episode has jogged the memory of 37-year-old Iskandar Syahril who had been conducting his business near the site of the 2011 landslide that occurred in Ukay Perdana 4.

“I realise how we are powerless against nature.”

Iskandar said there was a noticeable soil movement at the site when it rained after the incident.

“I’ve seen how fast can it move. We are lucky as the previous incident did not result in the loss of lives, but how long will our luck hold?”

Iskandar said there was no further monitoring by the authorities at the site despite calls by him and other business owners.

Checks by the New Straits Times revealed that the affected area was likely to face another landslide because erosion had taken place, leaving a gap and making the whole facade vulnerable.

Slope Watch programme director Emiko Motoyama, who heads the community slope watch within Bukit Antarabangsa, said the residents should pitch in to help monitor slopes in their neighbourhood.

“The authorities cannot be everywhere all the time. We (the residents) should be the eyes and ears for them, since the residents are the best observers of any changes in the slopes around their homes.”

New Straits Times found several areas in Jalan Wangsa 9, Bukit Antarabangsa, have been marked by authorities as danger zones as there were minor landslips.

Persistent slope failures at Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya were consistent with the observations and fears of the residents as it was near to their neighbourhood.

Landslides near the Fraser Tower at Jalan 5/60 here were spotted by residents three weeks ago.

A Bukit Gasing joint community council representative, who only wanted to be known as John, said the landslides occurred after the development of the double-storey temple on top of the hill.

“The temple was built at the edge of the hill, causing water disruption and erosion,” he said, adding that the municipal council should seek a long-term solution.

The expansion of the temple made headlines in 2007 after it caused a landslip, leading the council to issue a compound and a stop-work order to the temple management for violating the Street, Drainage and Building Act.

Fraser Towers resident Brian Tan wants Petaling Jaya City Council to inspect the safety of the hills on the Petaling Jaya side.

“We feel that there are parts of Bukit Gasing that are unstable. The authorities must make sure the maintenance of the hill slopes is done regularly.

New Straits Times found more than five landslides within Bukit Gasing that could lead to severe damage to properties and residents.


A landslip in Jalan Ukay Perdana 4 in Ampang, Selangor. Pic by Surianie Mohd Hanif