Malay Mail Online

Malaysia

Suhakam demands immediate payout for Penang landslide victims

Rescues workers search for victims of a landslide at a construction site in Tanjung Bungah, a suburb of George Town, October 22, 2017. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — The Penang government and the developer of a construction site hit by a deadly landslide must directly compensate the families of workers killed, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

The commission also expressed bafflement over Penang authorities’ decision to approve the project despite the rejection by the Department of Environment (DoE) due to its proximity to an active quarry.

Suhakam further noted that such sites were often worked by migrant labourers vulnerable to exploitation, and said the group was also customarily afforded little to no protection despite the hazardous nature of their work.

“Suhakam therefore insists that compensation for death and loss of life be immediately made available to the families of victims without being stressful and demeaning.

“Suhakam stresses that all parties concerned including the government must stand accountable for the deaths, and not shrug off their commitment to ensuring occupational health and safety,” it said in a statement.

On Saturday, a landslide occurred at the construction site of the affordable housing project in Tanjung Bungah, killing 10 foreigners and one Malaysian worker.

The DOE subsequently said it had not agreed to the approval of the project’s planning permission as there were insufficient buffer zones to the adjacent quarry.