Ministry proposes tenfold increase in penalty after tragic Bukit Kukus landslide

Ministry of Human Resources M Kulasegaran at a press conference after a site visit to Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong October 25, 2018. — Pictures by Sayuti Zainudin
Ministry of Human Resources M Kulasegaran at a press conference after a site visit to Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong October 25, 2018. — Pictures by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 25 — The Human Resources Ministry has proposed to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 to increase penalties for companies that violated work safety laws.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran today said the ministry has proposed to increase the fine of RM50,000 to RM500,000 along with a jail sentence of two years.

“We will bring this proposed amendment up in Parliament and we hope for it to be passed by next year,” he told a press conference after visiting the site of the fatal Bukit Kukus landslide today.

Kulasegaran said stiffer penalties will ensure companies are more careful in preventing work site accidents such as the one in Bukit Kukus that killed nine workers.

He said the proposed amendment will deter negligence on all parties involved, not only the main contractors of a project.

Kulasegaran said the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) was in charge of checking on many risky work sites, especially construction sites.

“Yet, the department is not equipped with modern technology and it does not even have a drone to monitor these sites all over the country,” he said.

He said the department needs to acquire the latest technology, such as drones, to monitor these work sites more effectively.

“We will be able to observe more areas of any work sites if we had drones,” he said.

A general view of the construction site where the landslide occurred at Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong October 25, 2018.
A general view of the construction site where the landslide occurred at Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong October 25, 2018.

On the Bukit Kukus incident, he said DOSH will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and find the cause behind it.

“We have forensic engineers from DOSH checking on the site to find out the cause of the incident and if it is found that there was wilful non-compliance or negligence, we will take action against those responsible,” he said.

The Bukit Kukus landslide occurred last Friday, bringing down containers stacked along the slopes which housed workers.

It occurred at the construction site of a paired road project which was to link Paya Terubong to Relau.

Currently, both the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and DOSH have issued stop work orders on the project pending investigations into the cause of the incident.

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