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.
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.