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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Approve only when conditions met: CM

Musa Haji Aman has instructed local authorities not to approve development plans involving slopes before it goes through the rules and restrictions process.

The Chief Minister said they must ensure that requirements and approval had been obtained for development plans from relevant authorities such as the Public Works Department (PWD) and Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).

"We (Government) are not anti-development but it is important that local authorities follow the rules and restrictions before approving development plansÉdon't simply approve any development (plans)," he said after opening the Public Awareness on Landslides and Slope Safety Seminar.

He said in their zest to develop, they must ensure that these areas were safe.

"If the rules and restrictions are all adhered to, very minimal negligence will occur."

As for non-government funded development projects, he said the PWD also had the authority to provide its views, he said, adding Sabah's hilly and mountainous topography was among factors it was not spared from landslides.

According to PWD Deputy Director of Infrastructure Development Amrullah Kamal, if the Government department was not satisfied with the plan, the consultant had to resubmit a fresh development plan.

Musa, who is also State Finance Minister, said local authorities and other technical agencies must ensure the hill slopes were designed and built according to best engineering practices and set specifications.

Apart from good design and construction, systematic maintenance on the slopes was also very important to ensure safety.

Hence, a fine and effective maintenance system must be implemented to ensure the drainage system, including retaining wall and slope cover plants, were always in perfect and good condition.

"Should there be signs of small failure or erosion on the slope, immediate repair must be carried out to prevent larger collapse that would require higher cost to repair."

He also said public awareness on slope safety was also essential so as to enable them monitor and safeguard the surrounding area should there be signs and risk of landslides.

"The seminar is aptly organised so that we can share knowledge and take steps to reduce or overcome the problem," he said.

Indirectly, with the knowledge they gained from the seminar as well as enhanced awareness on slope safety, he said they could control better development on hills slopes or on highlands more systematically and effectively for the safety and comfort of the people in such areas.

Meanwhile, the CM said Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) should be allowed to complete its study on the proposed coal plant to be built in Sandakan.

Recently, Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah had said that the proposed coal plant in Sandakan would probably be scrapped.

Also present were Infrastructure Development Assistant Ministers Pang Nyuk Ming and Datuk Japlin Akim and Senior Director of Slope Engineering Branch of Malaysia PWD Datuk Ir Dr Ashaari Mohamad.


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