Penang fatal landslide: Court fines engineer, consultant company RM80,000

Opalyn Mok
Rescue workers search for victims of a landslide at a construction site in Tanjung Bungah, George Town October 22, 2017. — Reuters pic

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 11 — A consultant engineer and an engineering consultancy firm were fined RM40,000 each for failing to provide safe working procedures that led to a fatal landslide at the Granito project site in 2017.

The consultant engineer, Khoo Koon Tai, and Perunding KAA Sdn Bhd both changed their plea and admitted to the offence when the case came up for mention at the Sessions Court today.

Perunding KAA Sdn Bhd was charged under Section 15 (1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 in which as an employer, it had failed to provide engineering calculations for the temporary slope where the fatal landslide occurred and therefore had failed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all workers at the site.

Khoo was also charged under the same section as a director of Perunding KAA Sdn Bhd for failing in his duty to prepare engineering calculations for the temporary slope at the project site where the fatal landslide occurred and therefore had failed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all workers at the site.

Both of them committed the offence at the construction site of an affordable housing project in Lorong Lembah Permai 3 at about 8.50am on October 21, 2017.

Khoo and Perunding KAA, represented by Teoh Ting Wei, had both claimed trial to the charge when they were first charged with the offence early this year.

The case came up for mention several times in April, May and June and trial was set for August 23 and 27 this year.

Both accused had submitted an application to negotiate with the prosecution on August 27 and the case was fixed for mention pending the outcome of the negotiations.

The prosecution had rejected the terms of negotiations submitted by the two accused and they decided to change their plea today.

Sessions Court judge Mazdi Abdul Hamid ordered them to pay a fine of RM40,000 each ,failing which they will face six months imprisonment.

Last month, the Commission of Enquiry into the fatal landslide in 2017 that killed 11 workers had recommended that Khoo be charged with causing death by negligence.

The 116-page report recommended that police start criminal investigations against Khoo for gross negligence that caused the loss of 11 lives.

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