Najib: Govt mulling ways to prevent high-risk devt projects

By Jumaat Disember 12th, 2008 No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is mulling various mechanisms aimed at preventing high-risk development projects, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

We do not want this (landslide incident) to happen all over again because there is a lot of public anger.

There is a lot of cynicism as well that statements may not be heeded by the relevant authorities, he said these when asked to comment whether the government would hold local councils responsible for approving high-risk development projects.

In 2006, Federal Court ruled that the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) was not liable either for the pre- or post-collapse events at Highland Towers, which killed 48 and left thousands homeless.

We have to discuss whether we can put into place some mechanisms to prevent high-risk development projects, he said told reporters after launching the book titled Taib Andak – In A Class Of His Own at Menara Maybank here yesterday.

On the statement by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that they would look into introducing a new law to govern all hillside development projects, Najib said the government was willing to consider any suggestion.

He said many tragedies could be avoided if the relevant authority approved the development based on the technical assessment of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The government hopes that people do not have short-term memories in such cases.

Earlier, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called for a new law to govern all hillside development projects to replace the 1965 Land Conservation Act and 1965 Land Code.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the Department of Environment (DOE) environmental impact assessment required all hillside development to be on 25-degree angle slopes or less, and the committee was informed that most of the units on Bukit Antarabangsa were built on 20-degree slopes.

Laws that govern hillside buildings must be seriously looked at. There are many weaknesses, he told a press conference at the landslide tragedy area on Thursday, after visiting the site with eight committee members, including his deputy Dr Tan Seng Giaw.

Azmi said the committee would discuss the possibility of a new law on hillside buildings that could be based on Hong Kong Land Code, as recommended by the Public Works Department.

We should not focus on gaining profit at the cost of people safety and environmental concerns, he said.

Source : The Star

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