GEORGE TOWN, June 26 — Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will be issuing a notice to the landowner of Lost Paradise Hotel in Batu Ferringhi for building a retaining wall without a permit, resulting in its collapse and the death of four Myanmar workers last night.
Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the city council will take action against the landowner in accordance with provisions under the law.
“We will issue a notice to the landowner under Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974,” he told a press conference held jointly with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Under the section, it stipulated that all landowners and building owners must obtain permits from the city council before undertaking any earthworks and construction works in their premises.
Anyone found guilty under the section is liable to be jailed not more than five years or fined not more than RM50,000 or both.
Yew advised all land and building owners to apply for permits before commencing any earthworks or construction works on their premises.
“We have a team that monitors illegal construction works but in this case, the construction works was on a slope below the road surface and hidden by the property’s gates so it was not noticeable from the road,” he said.
He also called on the public to report any suspected illegal construction works to the city council for immediate action.
Chow said the Public Works Department (PWD) will also be investigating the site and find out the cause of the incident.
“The state exco has received reports from MBPP and PWD regarding this incident that killed four people.
“We believe that these works were conducted without consulting an engineer so when the works were conducted, it had caused soil movement that even without rain, it weakened the soil and led to the collapse,” he said.
He called on the police and other relevant government agencies such as the PWD, MBPP and Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) to investigate the incident and take action against those responsible.
He said the PWD will now take action to stabilise the slope and strengthen the road which was affected by the collapse.
“PWD said the collapse affected the road so a stretch of about 50m will be closed on one side to allow for repair works of the road for the next three to four weeks,” he said.
He said a flagman will be on hand to direct the traffic and hoped those who uses the road will be patient with the inconvenience caused.
“The landowner is responsible for the safety of his land and buildings in his land so he must appoint professionals such as engineers to secure the safety of the slopes within the hotel compound,” he said.
PWD director Shahabuddin Muhayidin, who was also present at the press conference, said the department had to take immediate mitigation steps to stabilise the slopes by using sheet piles.
“We had to close a lane of the road to prevent untoward incidents that might affect the stability of the slopes while we repair the road,” he said.
He said the cause of the collapse was due to unstable conditions from the digging works conducted by the workers.
He gave an assurance that the road will be checked thoroughly to ensure it is safe for use before reopening it to the public.
Parts of a retaining wall broke at about 9.25pm yesterday, burying four Myanmar workers who were building another wall under rubble and earth.
The site of the incident, located on Lot 98 at Jalan Batu Ferringhi, was within the hotel grounds and at the border of Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi.