Monday, December 08, 2008

MPAJ responsible for same negligence!

Malaysiakini headline screams All eyes on 'Battle of KT'.

I disagree completely. If not for my name being misused ;-) I wouldn’t have even looked at the article to see what has been written.

If UMNO wins I am sure the party will crow the return of the faithful. If PAS wins it's equally certain PAS and of course PKR will do likewise (ie. the crowing), with the latter even making a 916 boast again.

Ask this yourself: Will the numbers in Parliament change significantly? It's just a sideshow of little relevance.

I am more concerned about what Uncle Lim has been angry about, the tragic outcome of the landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa. That it has been a repeat of a 15-year old tragic history is all the more infuriating, and criminally negligent.

Malaysiakini in its Lim: Too much resignation, too little outrage tells us that Uncle Lim lambasted both the PM and DPM for just wringing their hands in sympathy but not taking any action against the authorities responsible for approving the hill-slope development.

Lim roared in anger: “(There has also been) criminal negligence in failing to learn the lessons of the Highland Towers collapse, which claimed 48 lives 15 years ago.”

“Apart from wringing their hands in despair and spouting the usual platitudes about a halt to hill-slope development, which no one believes in, there is even no political will to set up a royal commission of inquiry.”

Now, note that Uncle Lim sneeringly said “…which no one believes in …” of the government’s promise to halt the lucrative hill-slope developments, because obviously the lessons of the Highland Towers disaster 15 years ago, where I believe Musa Hitam lost his son, have not been learnt.

Why has history, and a most tragic one, repeated itself?

In the Malaysian Insider, columnist Baradan Kuppusamy explained in his article Lessons from Highland Towers lie buried in Bukit Antarabangsa rubble.

Cutting to the chase, his article said:

But the lessons are not learnt and the tragedy is repeated, said lawyers involved with the Highland Towers case.

"People, policymakers, local authorities and developers did not learn the lessons," said a retired lawyer who was briefly involved in the case. "The reason is the huge profit that is to be made."

"The profit in upscale hillside development is enormous all round and everybody — officials, developers and lawyers — are willing to close an eye," he said.

"The structures look strong and they are strong but unless you manage the surrounding area of a hill and control all the development activities, damage would be done over time leading to a tragedy," the lawyer said.

"A hill is a holistic structure… you cannot develop one side and ignore the other sides. Geologically, everything is inter-connected on a hill," he said

Baradan commented:

The shocking part of the Highland Towers tragedy is that local councils were absolved for their failures and held not liable for losses suffered by anyone should a building collapse.

Coming as it does from the Federal Court, the matter is decided unless it is reviewed by the same court. As such the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council then and now is absolved and not liable because the decision still stands.

In the Highland Towers case the council was held not liable for losses suffered by the 73 residents of Block 2 and 3 and in the deaths of the 48 when Block 1 collapsed.

The 2-1 ruling held that local authorities like MPAJ were given full immunity under Section 95 (2) of the Street, Drainage & Building Act 1974 (Act 133) from claims for the pre-collapse period.

The majority decision delivered by Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad said that if the local councils were made liable, it would open the floodgates to further claims for economic loss, and this would deplete the council's resources meant for the provision of basic services and infrastructure. He held that it was unfair for rate payers' funds to be used to pay negligent suits.

Even kaytee knows that in Malaysia the local councils were not elected, thus whoever appointed the councillors should be vicariously liable.

Yes, if there is one word I've learnt in an introduction to law course which could be applied here or even 15 years ago on the Highland Tower case, it’s ‘vicarious’.

Our learned judge (I believe now retired) had stated: "In my view, the provision of basic necessities for the general public has priority over compensation for pure economic loss of some individuals, who are clearly better off than the majority of the residents in the local council area."

I believe his learned lordship was wrong on two aspects, where (1) the Selangor government should have been held vicariously responsible (because the State government had appointed the responsible councillors) and made to pay the damages, and ....

..... (2) it would be irrelevant whether those individuals in the Highland Tower case (or now at Bukit Antarabangsa) were better off than other residents on the local council areas because they suffered irrecoverable losses due to the MPAJ approving development of the Highland Tower on a hill-slope when it shouldn't have.

Therefore the victims and families deserved damages from those responsible or vicariously responsible. Additionally the MPAJ should have been slapped down ... and hard!

Who knows, if they had been (with some heads rolling), their successors would have been more aware that the MPAJ wasn’t immune to liability and their members from criminal prosecution for irresponsible land development approvals which could lead to (and which has again resulted in) more deaths.

Alas, the old concept of responsibility going hand in hand with authority was allowed to wither away by the Federal Court’s decision. Its 2-1 ruling is no comfort to the survivors and the relatives of the victims of the recent landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa.


  1. This is the usual practice of this govt; all lip service only and they are all nato members; no action talk only. The malays call it wayang kulit.

    I am personally hoping that God will take actions on those corrupted servants. I think we can make this happen if many thousands of people have the same hope. This is The Law Of Attraction.

    Because in this country, nothing will happen even if you shout, protest, demonstrate, write and condemn. All of them cover for each other.

    So lets use The Law Of Attraction.

  2. Between Khalid Ibrahim and Khir Toyo, I don't know who should be held more culpable...

  3. I hope KT know how the elected councils works, since I has little idea how it works.

    This is what I learn. When PR take over the government, it expose TONS of municipal councils WORKER are employed and contract as instructed BY the FEDERAL government. And together with the elected councils member, this really mess the whole system up.

    How the hell the federal gain the power to "supply" worker for municipal council and state government? And what happens to the 10 years old e-government project that suppose to give a clear picture of "WTF happens".

    Now the problem : if MPAJ account for it, it SHOULD not be difficult to locate who held the rights to sign those documents. Well, unless somebody shred those documents.

  4. Actually, Ktemoc, if you research further back and more widely on Malaysian/ Malayan case law regarding Local government legal liability with as far as approvals and licensing go, the Federal Court
    's Highland Tower ruling is not that unusual.

    The courts in this country have repeatedly upheld that government has a restricted accountability in giving out approvals, and it is very difficult to obtain legal compensation from the government on such matters.

    The solution will need to go back to Parliament to make necessary changes to the body of law - but it will not happen.

    Whether BN or PR is in control of the government/ local government, there is no interest in broadening the government's exposure to liability.

  5. Let’s review facts based on this words – IMMUNITY

    Fact no 1 – Based on the Highland Towers case, is there a local authority law to protect them from any legal action for wrong doing. So they have been given IMMUNITY. Which Government gave this right to?

    Let’s imagine beyond our horizon:-

    1 It is arguable when we have a Capitalist regime, it tends to favor it’s affiliated bodies as compared to others. Easier to work in this scenario

    2 In a Capitalist regime and if I am immune from law suits for any wrong doing, then it is presumably PRODUCTIVITY will increase without fear but maybe with favor!!! Tapalah, kita boleh buat apa-apa, bukan dia boleh sue sama kita!!! Suka hati kita lah…. Sini sana approve salah tak apa lah!!! Kena sue it developer mah & bukan kerajaan!!! Bodoh, you tak mau kah? Relax brother!!!

    3 Oh my God! There is another land slide! We, the municipal council stress all Good Corporate Governance! Our SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is in accordance to the law! Bukan dia boleh buat apa-apa! Relax brother! We are immune!

    4 Hey Kawan, you punya rumah sudah banyak crack lah! Ini bahaya! But in his heart, “ahh how to answer to my boss lah when he ask how we approve the CF?”

    Well Done! You have promoted Lackadaisical Attitude with your immunity laws!!!

    Ohh! Criminal negligence ! Itu bukan saya! Itu Developer mah!!! Dia giam liau mah!!!

    It is confirm we are moving backwards!!!

    The best is working for MPAJ - sudad immune

  6. MPAJ is given immunity !
    Ruler’s immunity taken away !
    That’s what BN did !
    Please my beloved King, do the needful !
    Please do not bless anymore BN MPs !
    Our current lives is only worth 10 cents !

  7. Guess who were the culprits? Chinese businessman aka capitalist bribed Malay officer or Malay politician. Well Well Well.

    This is Malaysia. The Policy already there. No development at the hillside. But Such a greed Capitalist aka Chinese Businessman ought to defy the law (as always ie: traffic offence and etc).


  8. LKS comments on the government was disgustingly opportunistic.

    The cause of the landslide has not been determined yet and already he has made his mind up it was the government's fault for giving out unwarranted approval for under-the-table money.

    Malaysian Institute of Engineers stated that there was no new projects on the hillslopes for over 20 years and new development is not cause of the landslide.

    Ah, so much for LKS 'corrupted new approvals' accusation.

    The Institute instead pointed that abandoned houses on the hillslopes could be the cause as old pipes may leak or burst, thus weakening the soil.

    I expect better from a world class opposition. To use a tragedy to gather political points is disgusting. As always, more objective and less opportunistic heads should prevail in this situation.

  9. Prevention is better than cure. While I note the good intentions by the new ruling Selangor government, may I know what preventive measures has been taken for those EXISTING houses/apartments/condos that has already been build & approved ALREADY by MPAJ???

    We should have programs to check the living ones instead of writing good essays for the lost ones.

    Ini baru betul mah! PR has control over 5 states! Please ENFORCE them in this 5 states IMMEDIATELY !!!

    Talk is cheap! We want actions before innocent lives are taken away AGAIN due to irresponsible developer’s unethical criminal negligent.

    By the way, this immunity law that protect the local council from any wrong doing is unconstitutional! NO ONE SHOULD BE PLACED ABOVE THE LAW! Rulers also don’t have such immunity! Why they have ?

    Thank you!

  10. Now we can understand why nobody in the corridors of power resign their jobs whenever man-made tragedies happen in Malaysia. Because nobody's responsible...

    It's an Act of God again?

  11. The current Selangor State Government can't do much with the current LAW drafted by FEDERAL. They can only 'hold the fort' and painfully and slowly re-establish powers that was conveniently usurped or abused all these years. Only when PR takes over FEDERAL with enough brave and law-abiding LAWMAKERS (ie MPs) will the unjust LAWs be put to RIGHT.

  12. Abandoned houses still have running water? Then what is the water board being doing? Still allowing leakages running foc but mean while - demanding more mega water projects such as digging a tunnel to transfer water from Pahang into Selangor?

    In this case LKS's outburst is alright

  13. "Abandoned houses still have running water? Then what is the water board being doing? Still allowing leakages running foc..."

    Abandoned doesn't mean bills are unpaid. Also it is the developer/homeowner who check for leakage in their property.

    LKS uproar is inexcusable. His action is typical of opposition in recent months. Use tragedies to attack govt for political points. Throw enough shits at the government before the cause is determined, hoping one will stick. Even if the cause turned out to be not the govt, the people will already has made up their mind.

    Sigh. I wish for more professionalism and dignity.

  14. Such a public matter isn't about which political party (or parties) forms the State (or even Federal) government, or had/has f* up [this should be separately dealt with in an election].

    Right now, with such a disaster where members of the public have perished and suffered losses, it's about public rights, interests and safety.

    If the governing authority has failed to provide those, then the law must make the government compensate the victims/aggrieved.

    That's what the system of a democratic nation ought to ensure and do.

  15. "A hill is a holistic structure… you cannot develop one side and ignore the other sides. Geologically, everything is inter-connected on a hill," he said.

    hypocrites i would say. only tragedies happened then these lawyers will bark the loudest. why they don lobby before the incident struck. and also, why are they worry - they should be happy coz more civil suits will come after this....

  16. It was an ACT OF GOD.

    No point going around blaming everyone and your grandmother.