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Genting Highlands landslide: Campsites operating illegally since 2020, says Malaysian minister

BATANG KALI — The three camping grounds hit by a landslide at Jalan Batang Kali — Goh Tong had been operating illegally since 2020.

Rescue workers arrive to the site for a search and rescue mission following a landslide in Batang Kali, Selangor, on Dec 16, 2022.
Rescue workers arrive to the site for a search and rescue mission following a landslide in Batang Kali, Selangor, on Dec 16, 2022.

BATANG KALI — The three camping grounds hit by a landslide at Jalan Batang Kali — Goh Tong had been operating illegally since 2020.

Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming said the campsites were only granted planning permission for organic farming, approved by the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council (MPHS) in 2019.

He said as such, the campsite operators had breached provisions under the Street, Drainage and Buildings Act 1974 (Act 133) which provides for a punishment of three years jail or a maximum fine of RM50,000 (S$15,300).

"The government will take stern action (against the operators). No one is above the law.

"This is not limited to just this operator alone but nationwide. Local councils can issue compounds while the Attorney General's Chambers can prosecute in court.

"They (illegal operators) are urged to stop their operations and apply for licences quickly before action is taken," he said at a press conference on Friday (Dec 16).

On a related matter, Mr Nga said he has instructed for all campsites located near rivers and high-risk areas nationwide to be closed for a week, effective immediately.

The directive, he said, will remain until further notice.

He said this directive was issued to 155 local councils this morning, following weather forecasts of five days of heavy rain beginning tomorrow.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said in a statement on Friday that he had been briefed on the mission by Mr Nga, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Selangor chief minister Amirudin Shari.

“I have ordered that the search and rescue mission be carried out meticulously and systematically by all government departments," he said.

“I was also informed that the ministers involved will be going down to the location this morning. 

“However, I advise them not to interfere with search and rescue work,” he said, adding that he himself would be visiting the site on Friday night. 

Separately, Mr Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister, said that the landslide was due to a slope failure.

"Based on the data that we have, there was a slope failure with the dimensions of 500m in length, a width of 200m and a depth of 8m.

"The volume (of displaced earth) is 450,000 cubic meters that affected the areas," he said in a press conference at the location. 

Mr Nik Nazmi expressed condolences to all families affected and advised the public to be mindful when they go to risky areas during the rainy season.

"We are praying that all the victims will be found as soon as possible," he said. NEW STRAITS TIMES / MALAY MAIL

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