“Death is always and under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then it means that life itself has become one.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
It is a tragedy. And the pain in Bukit Antarabangsa is indescribable, because it was wholly avoidable. And this time, someone has to pay.
It was pure madness for the prime minister to quip that it is the greed of developers and the desire of owners for hillside homes that has led to the calamity. Where were the federal and local government in all of the speculations of fault? Developers may be greedy – or profit driven as the more appropriate political correct term goes, and suitably home owners seek the classy attraction of hillside homes. However government in involved in the process of deciding these developments, to weigh the benefits and the possible cost.
These buildings were constructed through the blessing of local government, state government and yes, federal government. It is rich to say now that it is a matter between developers and buyers.
If local government is keen on regulating what size waste bin you need to rent if you are in the midst of renovation in your home, in zoning residential from business, and what type of buildings are constructed in their fiefdom, then why are they not equally responsible for the bad decisions they make – in allowing construction in places they ought not to have?
Or have the lessons of Highland Towers in 1993, almost 15 years exactly, lost on the federal government.
If Highland was an absolute disaster, why were the other constructions in the area not stopped, and built ones vacated? There were means to recuperate some of the losses for those who have already purchased homes – because it is crazy to still let them live in hillside constructs in Bukit Antarabangsa – the site of Highland.
There should have been a model to get people off Bukit Antarabangsa, rather than letting it be, but the federal government abdicated its responsibility in the matter.
So it’s wholly repugnant that the pm is letting only the developers and residents take flak for this tragedy.
The prime minister has to explain why all the edicts in the past banning hillside developments have both failed, and why there is no policy is taking people out of hillside development whose geological data does not rule out a landslide?
That has to be articulated. The time for responsibility is now at hand. Which ministers needed to have responded over the last 15 years, enquire and come to a conclusion whether this new event could have been averted with better policy.
Perhaps my people are not as wise as they should be, and yes developers are greedy. But tell me, why do we have governments if they are unable to present and administer policies that protect the public from harms they can foresee using the wings of government they have – the geological department, the ministries and research units?
The time for answers has come.