Water pipe leakage the main cause of Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy

KUALA LUMPUR: The Taman Bukit Mewah, Bukit Antarabangsa landslide that claimed five lives in December 2008 was caused by a combination of factors, which led to a higher level of underground water retention, precipitating in the tragedy, according to a technical report by the Public Works Department.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the public could obtain the declassified investigation report this Monday, Nov 23 at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).

In the summary of the report obtained from his office on Nov 18, the special technical committee formed to investigate the causes of the tragedy had stated five factors contributed to the landslide:
* Loose soil of the retaining slope during construction;
* Lack of maintenance/damage to drainage system in the area surrounding the failed slope;
* Heavy rain in October and November, before the landslide occurred;
* Cracks were constantly appearing in the ground, resulting in existing cracks to widen and new ones to emerge; and
* Leakages in active water supply pipes running the length of the row of abandoned houses, caused by cracks in the ground.

"Based on the above factors, the technical committee concluded that the main cause of the landslide was the leakages in the active water supply pipes running the length of the row of abandoned houses, resulting in increased water retention of the soil at the place where the slope failed," said the summary of the report.

In a statement, Abdul Khalid said he had used the provisions under Section 2(c) of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) that allowed ministers and menteris besar to declassify documents.

"This action was taken after the State Consultative Council today (Nov 18) agreed that the report, which was classified as ‘secret’ by the federal government, be released for public viewing," the statement said.

The report was handed to MPAJ while the state government, which received the report, decided to make it available to the public.

"For the public who want to know the reason for the tragedy, we will also give out a summarised copy of the report for free," Bernama cited Khalid as telling reporters after chairing a state executive council meeting.

"The PWD's technical committee on landslide has identified underground water retention in the area due to leakages, as a contributing factor to the landslide," he said.
Khalid added that the report however, did not say who was responsible for the tragedy.

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