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General News Reports
(1993)
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Time to get cracking 01/12/1993 BT
MALAYSIA has experienced three cyclical bust and boom periods during the last three decades in the construction sector. It is enough to say that at present there are good profits to be made in the housing sector. However, the developers in their haste to make profits out of this giant upmarket craving for homes have neglected to cater to the poor and those who can barely afford homes of their own by building low-cost units costing RM25,000 each. It was the perception of the Government that there was a tardiness among housing developers to do something about the non- profitable low-cost housing sector that it initiated the Special Low-Cost Housing Programme where it envisaged the building of 80,000 low-cost housing units a year over three years. The results were lamentable, to say the least.

Ban on hammer piling 01/12/1993 MM
CITY Hall is to ban the use of diesel-powered hammer piles at construction sites to overcome noise pollution. It will encourage other piling systems such as the hydraulic pile, the pneumatic pile, and the bore pile, said City Hall deputy director-general II Haji Abdul Ghani Mohd Rais.

Strata dialogue with flat dwellers 01/12/1993 MM
THE Seremban Municipal Council will hold dialogue sessions on the Strata Title Act 1985 among flat dwellers to educate them on their legal responsibilities. This follows problems encountered by the council and developers in getting flat occupants to form management corporations to look after flats.

Still at work after 10pm 01/12/1993 MM
THE contractor of a condominium project in Jalan Klang Lama was caught working beyond the permitted working hours when City Hall officials raided six construction sites last night. The contractors were either issued notices or warned for failing to observe City Hall's Street, Drainage and Building By-law.

Errant developers rapped 01/12/1993 MM
THE Housing Developers Association has urged City Hall to be firm on errant developers who cause flooding in the city. Its secretary-general, Mr Alan Tong Kok Mau, said City Hall should issue compounds or a stop-work order on any developer who fails to abide by the regulations of the local authority.

City Hall finds silt traps at construction sites wanting 02/12/1993 NST-CITYX
SILT-TRAPPING measures at several construction sites in the city have been found to be inadequate and they continue to pose serious drainage problems. This conclusion was reached by a task force on construction sites set up by City Hall four months ago following an inspection of several construction sites on Tuesday night.

About RM50,000 for a Penang medium low-cost house 02/12/1993 NST
PENANG, Wed. - The medium low-cost houses to be built under the State's affordable housing scheme will have similar floor area and rooms as that of low-cost housing but will cost double the amount. Malaysian Association of Architects (PAM) (northern chapter) chairman Lim Hun Fang confirmed last night that the floor area of a medium low-cost two-bedroom flat would be around 480 to 550 sq feet and consists of a living and dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a toilet.

Stop building golf courses in Klang valley, please 02/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THERE should not be any more golf courses in the Klang Valley for environmental reasons, according to experts engaged in a study on future development of golf courses in the country. This is one of the recommendations made by geologists, botanists and developers who make up the 10-member committee set up by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) for the three-month study.

Builders no longer keen on golf courses 03/12/1993 MM
THE Selangor Government is planning to conduct a comprehensive study before deciding on developing more golf courses in the State. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said though they would conduct the study, there was indication that developers were no longer keen on opening more courses.

Seremban to prosecute 49 for illegal extensions 04/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THE Seremban Municipal Council will prosecute 49 houseowners who built illegal extensions to their properties. Forty-one are from Taman Bunga Blossom and eight from Taman Bidara.

Intensified checks at work sites 04/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THE Seremban Municipal Council will step up checks at construction sites in the municipality to make sure developers conform with earthwork procedures. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohamad Isa Abdul Samad, who is council president, said indiscriminate earthworks carried out by some developers had contributed to the frequent flash floods in the municipality lately.

Greens should be developed far from ecologically-sensitive areas 04/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Fri. - Golf courses will not be detrimental to the environment if their development is carried out away from ecologically- sensitive areas such as mangrove swamps, catchment areas and forest reserves, a senior research officer with the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) said today. Dr Abdul Rahim Nik said golf-course developers could contribute to the greening of the country by focusing their attention on other areas such as former tin mining or idle land.

Clients' Charter gets full support from Muar folk 04/12/1993 NST
MUAR, Fri. - Taxpayers, in particular, housing developers and the business fraternity, today came out in full support of the Clients' Charter initiated by the Muar South District Council. Under the charter, which took effect on Tuesday, council staff will provide maximum service to reduce unnecessary delay and cut red-tape in the issuance of licences, certificates of fitness of occupancy and other services.

EIA regulations: Four firms to be charged 05/12/1993 NSUNT
KUALA LUMPUR, Sat. - Four developers will be charged in court soon for the first time for violating the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations which came into force in 1988. The offences are related to two golf course developments, one in Negri Sembilan and the other in Bukit Lancang, Selangor, a resort development in Perak and the operations of a quarry in Sabah.

Selangor to solve housing woes 06/12/1993 BT
THE Selangor Government is taking various measures starting with its budget for next year to step up the construction of low-cost houses to overcome the housing problem in the state by 2005. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Haji Muhammad Taib said special emphasis will be given to densely-populated areas which were facing critical housing problems. The budget will be tabled next week. Speaking at the 20th anniversary dinner of Shah Alam Properties, in Subang last night, he said the Government will ensure that the rights of low-income earners to own houses are not ignored in all housing projects in the state. He said several changes will also be introduced in the 1994 budget pertaining to the maintenance system and the responsibilities of the local authorities which will be working with the developers to ensure conducive conditions in housing estates. He also said SAP will be listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange next year. - Bernama

`Set up watchdog committee'  06/12/1993 MM
A WATCHDOG committee to check shoddy construction works has been proposed by Petaling District Councillor Datuk Yap Pian Hon following yesterday's collapse of an incomplete mini factory - the second in the district in less than two months. An Indonesian worker was killed and another injured when the building in the Puchong Perdana light industrial estate crashed down.

`Bumi quota not meant for non-Bumis' 06/12/1993 BT
THE Kedah Government will not allow housing developers to give the Bumiputera's quota of the houses to the non-Bumiputeras, State Housing, Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said yesterday.

Signs of negligence 07/12/1993 MM
POLICE are zooming in on negligence and the act of causing grievous hurt in its investigations into last Sunday's collapse of a mini factory block being built in the Puchong Perdana light industrial estate. Petaling Jaya police said initial investigations revealed evidence indicating negligence as the cause of the incident in which the building with 10 mini factory lots crumbled.

Buck up, MB tells housing developers 07/12/1993 ST
SHAH ALAM, Mon. - The Master Builders Association and Housing Developers Associations have been urged to hold talks with their members on safety measures. They have also been told to ensure that buildings are constructed according to specifications laid down by the authorities to prevent untoward incidents.

Developers, contractors rapped 08/12/1993 BT
HUMAN Resources Minister Datuk Lim Ah Lek yesterday took to task some building developers and contractors who cut corners on safety at construction sites. "Safety measures are actually savings for the contractors or developers," he told reporters after a site visit to the Puchong Perdana Light Industrial Estate, where a row of factories under construction collapsed on Sunday. One Indonesian worker was killed and another injured in the incident. He said that the contractors and developers are the ones that will lose out in the event of an accident at the work site. "Work could be suspended while investigations are being carried out. This can be a huge financial burden to the workers, contractors and developers, who may not complete the project on time," he said.

Builders face action 08/12/1993 MM
TWO construction companies will soon be hauled to court for two common offences that have hampered efforts to prevent worksite injuries. The offences are: failure to inform the Factories and Machinery Department a week before construction work starts; and non-notification of worksite accidents.

More low-cost houses for squatters 08/12/1993 MM
THE squatter problem in Selangor is expected to be resolved by 2003 through a plan to build 5,000 units of low-cost houses annually. The State Goverment, through various government agencies and its subsidiary companies, has so far built 47,735 low-cost units.

Flash floods: Need for new guidelines NST-CITYX 08/12/1993
A NEW set of guidelines for construction sites, with emphasis on flood mitigation measures, is urgently required to ensure rapid development does not lead to more flash floods in the city. Federal Territory Drainage and Irrigation Department director Tan Jiak Kim said the input for the guidelines should come from various agencies, including the Department of Environment, the Forestry Department, DID and City Hall.

Lim shocked over workers' primitive living conditions 08/12/1993 NST
PETALING JAYA, Tues. - Human Resources Minister Datuk Lim Ah Lek today expressed shock over the "primitive conditions" under which construction workers were staying in the Puchong Perdana light industrial estate. Lim went there this morning with officials to take a look at the factory block that collapsed while under construction on Sunday killing an Indonesian worker and injuring another.

Favourable response from developers 08/12/1993 NST
THE move by the State Housing Policy and Strategies Committee to encourage the private sector to construct affordable low and medium-low-cost housing costing between RM25,000 and RM50,000 per unit has shown results, the House was told yesterday. In replying to oral questions by Dr Teng Hock Nan (BN-Kebun Bunga), State Housing Committee chairman Zakaria Bakar (BN-Ara Rendang) said that the move has garnered favourable response from several private housing developers in Penang even though its implementation began on Dec 1.

Errant builders warned over requirements for low-cost units 08/12/1993 NST
THE State Government will take stern action against developers who fail to comply with the requirements for low-cost units in their housing schemes. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib also warned developers who switched their low-cost units to medium-cost units without the prior approval from the relevant authorities would not be spared.

Unit to tackle hazardous wastes 09/12/1993 MM
THE Kuala Lumpur Environment Committee will meet Datuk Bandar Datuk Dr Mazlan Ahmad on the setting up of a special unit to deal with emergencies resulting from spillage or dumping of hazardous and toxic substances. Committee chairman Lee Lam Thye said he will see Mazlan or raise the matter at the City Hall advisory board meeting on Dec 14.

Council operation 09/12/1993 MM
THE Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) will carry out another operation to check the conditions of kongsis in two weeks time. Council secretary Kamarul Bahrim Datuk Abdul Raof said besides the building department, the enforcement unit, urban services and health department personnel will be involved in the check.

Rent flats to low income group 09/12/1993 MM
POPULATION density and squatter problem in urban areas due to rural migration can be overcome through a concept allowing bachelors and married couples to rent flats either owned by the State Government or private companies. Datuk Miskon Sutero (BN-Jeram) said the State Government should promote the concept among developers.

Short of manpower to carry out checks 09/12/1993 MM
DEVELOPERS in Petaling have a free run in the way kongsis in their construction sites are managed, no thanks to the Petaling District Council's manpower shortage. The council is unable to spare officers needed to carry out spot checks on the kongsis once developers get the permit to build these workers quarters.

Proposal to build cheap homes for the squatters 09/12/1993 NST By R.V. Veera; Annie Freeda Cruez
THE Selangor Government has been urged to offer houses for rental to overcome squatter problems. State Assemblyman for Jeram, Datuk Miskon Sutero, said the State Government should direct government bodies and private developers to build houses which could be rented out.

Understanding joint venture pacts and their ramifications 09/12/1993 NST
AS the building and construction industry continues to move rapidly over the next several years, the costs involved in the development of commercial property is expected to soar. Even today, it is not uncommon to hear of commercial projects costing hundreds of millions of ringgit and there are already a number of existing projects which have breached the billion ringgit price tag. As a result of this, developers intending to embark on such large-scale and grandiose projects may be forced to look for partners to relieve them of the huge financial burden which may be imposed on them if they become the sole developer for such projects. Teaming up with other developers is one way to get around the hurdle and this can be done in a number of ways, such as through joint ventures (JVs).

Projects to prove low-cost housing viable NST 10/12/1993
PENANG, Thurs. - Two pilot housing projects to be carried out in Terengganu and Perak are set to disprove most developers' claims that low- cost housing construction is not profitable. Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Osu Sukam said today two models of low-cost units developed by the ministry and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) provided a slightly bigger built-up area than present low- cost houses.

Council urged to probe Taman Midlands project 10/12/1993 NST
THE Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) has been asked to check whether there was any irregularity in the Taman Midlands project in Pulau Tikus. Dr Teng Hock Nan (BN-Kebun Bunga) said he was surprised at the speed with which the units of Taman Midlands have all been sold out, especially as announced by MPPP just a day after the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the directors of Pangkal Permata (M) Sdn Bhd and MPPP president Datuk Tan Gim Hwa.

Developer of estate to face stern action 11/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THE Petaling District Council will take stern action against the developer of the Puchong Perdana light industrial estate if checks reveal workers there are living in filthy conditions. A council official said the developer would be fined if the workers were found living without basic amenities.

Expert: Do more for low-cost housing 11/12/1993 NST
PENANG, Fri. - The public sector and private housing developers must be more sensitive to the needs of the lower income groups. They should give priority to them instead of focusing on the middle or high income groups if they were really sincere in wanting to help overcome the shortage of low-cost houses.

Water tanks at flats will be replaced in stages 11/12/1993 NST
THE State Government will replace a number of water tanks on high rise buildings which are in need of repair, the State Assembly was told yesterday. State Housing, Environment, Culture and SocioCivic Amenities Committee chairman Zakaria Bakar (BN-Ara Rendang) said the Government planned to replace 12 water tanks at the Rifle Range flats.

Act against the errant parties, urges Lee 12/12/1993 NSUNT
KUALA LUMPUR, Sat. - Former Bukit Bintang MP Lee Lam Thye urged the authorities to act against errant consultants, contractors and developers involved in inferior construction standards, resulting in building collapses. In a statement, Lee, a member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, said the condominium tragedy was of utmost concern to the public as there had been a spate of building collapses in the last two months.

Set up panel of experts, says MTUC 13/12/1993 BT
IN THE wake of the collapse of a 12-storey Highland Towers apartment block in Hulu Klang on Saturday, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged that a committee of experts be set up to study the construction of high-rise buildings in the future. Its president Zainal Rampak, in welcoming Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's statement that agencies at the Federal level and the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council will investigate the incident, urged the Government to also set up a committee of experts.

Builders need clear-cut policy 13/12/1993 BT
MALAYSIA should have a clear-cut policy on building condominiums on hillsides to avoid disasters like Saturday's incident where a landslide caused a Highland Towers condominium block to collapse. The policy should identify stringent measures to be taken to ensure that any development of hillsides is done with strict maintenance.

Factors behind collapse of apartment block 13/12/1993 MM
SEVERAL factors may have contributed to the collapse of the Highland Towers apartment block last Saturday - besides a landslide that triggered it. Prof Dr Ibrahim Komoo of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Geology Department, who had visited the site, said one of them was improper building design, a factor which needed to be validated by the Public Works Department.

Call for more control over construction 13/12/1993 NST-CITYX
DATUK Bandar Datuk Mazlan Ahmad wants City Hall to have greater supervisory powers to ensure materials used in the construction of buildings were of high standard. He said this would enable the authority to carry out independent checks to ensure no shortcuts were taken during the construction stage as these could have disastrous consequences later.

Dr M: We will review hill projects 13/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Sun. - The Government will review development projects on hills, especially if they involve the clearing of trees, in the light of the Highland Towers building collapse, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today. He said it was obvious that earth movement had knocked down the base of the building, causing it to collapse.

Don't sacrifice safety, quality, Muhyiddin tells developers 13/12/1993 NST
KLUANG, Sun. - Housing developers should not compromise on the safety and quality of their buildings, Johor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today. "Safety and quality, including all environmental aspects, must be taken into consideration," said Muhyiddin when expressing sadness over the collapse of the 12-storey Highland Towers apartment block in Hulu Klang, Selangor yesterday.

Safety check on all high-rise buildings 14/12/1993 BT
ALL high-rise buildings and condominiums nationwide will undergo stringent inspections to ensure they are safe for occupation. Buildings under construction on hillslopes will also be checked. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said although at present, some of the buildings are confirmed to be safe, "we want to be doubly sure that they will still be safe in the future".

Time to act 14/12/1993 BT
IT WAS the mother of building disasters. Block A of the 12-storey Highland Towers in Hulu Klang just crumbled on Saturday afternoon. At least 50 residents are still trapped inside the debris and shell of a once proud tower. Authorities hold out slim hopes for those trapped inside, who include former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Musa Hitam's only son and his daughter-in-law. Rescue work has been going on during the last three days. Musa was a fine study of grace under stress. The television cameras captured vividly the scene of a distraught father waiting for news of his son and daughter-in-law. It also showed him gently brushing aside reporters who wanted to ask him questions. "Sorry, nothing to say, ask the officials," he said. The reporters and photographers could not be blamed, too. They were just going about their work. That is the hard part of press work. Reporters would be happier recording the country's achievements like the successful staging of Lima 93 which just ended in Langkawi. However one cannot choose. News is news, especially bad news, and the collapse of the block of luxury high-rise apartments is really bad news.

State Governments taking steps to prevent similar tragedy 14/12/1993 NST
PENANG, Mon. - The State Government has set up a committee to check on the safety of all old and high rise buildings. Announcing this after a special State Executive Council meeting at the State Assembly today, Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the decision was made in the wake of the collapse of the Highland Towers apartment block in Hulu Klang on Saturday.

Enforcement of building law 15/12/1993 BT
THE Malacca Government will ensure that housing developers, especially those involved in the construction of condominiums, adhere strictly to regulations, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik said yesterday. He said in Malacca the Municipal Council has been directed to carry out strict inspection before issuing certificate of fitness (CF) for houses, especially condominiums. The developers are required to engage qualified consultants to supervise the construction of their projects to ensure that they are safe, he said, adding that these measures are necessary to avoid tragedy like the one in Hulu Klang, Selangor. However, Abdul Rahim said most of the condominiums in the state are on flat land and none on hilltop. - Bernama

HDA plans to draw up blacklist 15/12/1993 BT
THE Housing Developers Association (HDA) plans to draw up a blacklist of contractors, consultants and engineers who flout the law to ensure that developers are in good hands when working on construction projects. Secretary-general Alan Tong Kok Mau said this was decided at a meeting last Saturday among HDA representatives from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

Effects of tragedy on condo mart to be felt in 3 months 15/12/1993 BT
THERE will be no immediate effect from the Highland Towers tragedy on the property market. However, the effects will likely be felt in three months' time. "The repercussions of the incident will take time to surface in the property market but around March next year, the outcome will be more apparent," real estate company Domain Properties principal Che King Tow told Business Times yesterday.

Developers in the dark 15/12/1993 MM
DEVELOPERS in Selangor are continuing their construction activities although the State Government had ordered a halt to high-rise developments, especially those on hillslopes. Without an official directive, developers are uncertain what type of construction activities are banned.

Talks on safety of buildings 15/12/1993 MM
THE Housing Developer's Association (HDA) will organise a seminar to discuss the responsibility of those involved in building highrise buildings. Association secretary Alan Tong Kok Mau said the seminar will be held on Jan 3 on the `Safety of High-rise Buildings'.

Guidelines on technical and safety aspects 15/12/1993 MM
GUIDELINES on technical and safety aspects of highrise building construction in hill slopes in Selangor will be issued to developers in two days. The guidelines, formulated by a high-level committee formed by the Selangor Government to check construction of high-rises in hilly areas has defined a building above five-storey as a high-rise building.

Way to ensure quality buildings 15/12/1993 MM
THE erosion of independent judgement among parties involved in construction site work - engineers, developers and builders - should be looked into to ensure quality buildings. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health director Lee Lam Thye said this situation came about because most developers have their own construction company.

Verification by second consultant proposed 15/12/1993 NST-CITYX
CITY Hall has proposed that it be made compulsory for developers to appoint a second consultant to verify whether newly-constructed buildings comply with safety requirements and are fit to be given a Certificate of Fitness. Datuk Bandar Datuk Mazlan Ahmad said all applications to build high-rise condominiums and apartments, that have already been given a development order by City Hall, have been frozen indefinitely.

15 housing developers will provide geo-technical reports 15/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - Fifteen housing developers carrying out projects on hill slopes in Ampang have agreed to provide geo-technical studies on their projects to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) in two week's time. This was agreed by the developers who met council officials in an emergency meeting today to discuss ongoing projects in the area in the light of the Highland Towers apartment block tragedy in Hulu Klang last Saturday.

DOE: Change works and payment schedule 15/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - The Department of Environment (DOE) has proposed changes to the existing schedule of works and payments in the construction industry to arrest soil erosion problems. Its director-general, Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Jaafar, said in an interview that the changes were to rectify the current situation where mitigative measures to minimise erosion were neglected.

Checks on buildings in coastal areas 15/12/1993 NST
KUALA TERENGGANU, Tues. - Menteri Besar Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad has directed the Public Works and the Drainage and Irrigation departments to check the structures of buildings in coastal areas. He said architects as well as developers engaged in the design and construction of buildings should co-operate with the authorities by providing building plans and other details.

Association to blacklist errant contractors, consultants 15/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - The Housing Developers Association plans to blacklist housing contractors and professional consultants who neglect their duties and carry out sub-standard work. Its secretary Alan Tong Kok Mau said today the proposal was one of the resolutions made at a meeting between the HDA and its Sabah and Sarawak branches last Saturday.

Now, condominium phobia 15/12/1993 NST By Peter B.
FOR someone who lives in the shadow of the condominium maze atop Bangsar you can imagine the fears triggered by the collapse of Highland Towers and my concern that the authorities and contractors will ignore the problems it highlights. What this tragedy does do is focus on an apparent lack of understanding on the part of our engineers and contractors of the forces of nature, the danger involved in land clearing and hill cutting and the inability of modern concrete structures, even retaining walls, to withstand earth movements caused by water pressure building up below the surface.

Directive to housing developers over quota for Bumis  15/12/1993 NST
BUKIT MERTAJAM, Tues. - The State Government has directed housing developers to sell 30 per cent of residential homes they build to the Penang Bumiputera Co-ordinating Unit (UPBPP), said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad. These houses will be held in trust by the UPBPP until all of them are re-sold to Bumiputera buyers.

No builder has applied for ISO 9000 16/12/1993 BT
NOT a single Malaysian construction company, including those which build condominiums and other high-rise buildings, has applied for the ISO 9000 certification standard. Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Sirim) Director-General Datuk Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said thus far only one building material manufacturer has come forward.

Builders told to submit reports 16/12/1993 MM
HIGH-RISE building developers with projects in hilly areas are advised to submit construction plans and relevant reports to the Selangor Government. This is to enable a high-level committee to assess the project's technical aspects and safety.

Study to determine need for special SAR unit 16/12/1993 NST
PETALING JAYA, Wed. - Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Government was seriously looking into the possibility of setting up a special search- and-rescue unit to tackle such disasters and tragedies as that of the Highland Towers apartment collapse. The Prime Minister said a study would have to be carried out first to determine its necessity.

Developers back City Hall proposal 16/12/1993 NST-CITYX
DEVELOPERS have welcomed a City Hall proposal for newly-constructed buildings to be verified by a second consultant to see if they are up to safety requirements and fit to be given a Certificate of Fitness. Several also agreed that developers should be held liable for building defects because this would ensure that contractors do not use sub-standard materials or resort to cost-cutting methods.

States take second look at projects 16/12/1993 NST
KUANTAN, Wed. - The Pahang Government today announced the setting up of a committee to take a "second look" at all on-going and completed development projects on highland as well as by the sea. This is to ensure that all buildings constructed in these areas are safe for occupation.

State planning to build 2,000 low-cost houses 16/12/1993 NST
MALACCA, Wed. - At least 2,000 units of low-cost houses will be built throughout the State next year under a new proposal approved at today's State Executive Council meeting. Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik said the low-cost units would be located both in the town areas and in their outskirts.

Guidelines for developers 17/12/1993 BT
DEVELOPERS will be required to provide proper accommodation for their workers under guidelines to be issued by the Human Resources Ministry. Its minister, Datuk Lim Ah Lek, said the guidelines are being finalised and expected to be completed within three months. On completion, the guidelines will be submitted to the Cabinet before being enforced, he told reporters after opening a conference attended by directors of the Manpower Department in Port Dickson yesterday. He said the decision to come up with the guidelines was reached two weeks ago by the Cabinet which viewed seriously the poor condition of the construction workers' living quarters. Lim said developers of existing projects will also be directed to adhere to the guidelines although it will only be enforced on new projects. - Bernama

Check on high-rise projects 17/12/1993 MM
FIVE on-going condominium projects in Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, came under the scrutiny of City Hall building surveyors yesterday for site safety and possible structural defects. The five projects - along Jalan Penaga, Jalan Kapas and Medang Kapas - are among the 18 high-rise projects in the city which are situated on hillslopes.

Stringent guidelines for high rises 17/12/1993 NST-CITYX
ONGOING high-rise projects in Kuala Lumpur have to meet stringent new guidelines set by City Hall in the wake of the Highland Towers apartment building collapse in Hulu Klang, Selangor. Projects that fail to meet the various criteria set by its Building Control section of the Planning Department will be halted, effectively reversing the development order (DO) initially given by City Hall.

Move to improve living conditions at worksites 17/12/1993 NST
PORT DICKSON, Thurs. - Developers may in future be required to provide proper accommodation and sanitation facilities for construction workers before they can embark on a project, Human Resources Minister Datuk Lim Ah Lek said today. He said his Ministry had been directed by the Cabinet to draw up guidelines on the matter in view of the appalling living conditions at project sites.

Making builders more responsible 17/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Thurs. - The Government is looking into the possibility of imposing tax on developers who do not provide facilities for waste management, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said tonight. He said along with making profits, it was important to stress social responsibilities as well.

Keep worksites clean, council tells builders 18/12/1993 MM
THE Port Dickson District Council will act against developers who fail to maintain cleanliness at project sites. Council president Ramli Ibni Hajar said the council would suspend their operations if they did not provide proper accommodation and sanitation facilities for workers at project sites.

Four more hill condos checked 18/12/1993 MM
FOUR more condominium projects on hillslopes in the city came under inspection by City Hall building surveyors yesterday. The four projects are:

Developer on rules for safe hillside high rises 18/12/1993 NST-CITYX
HILLSIDE condominium projects should not pose a danger to the surroundings if developers observe proper measures during landscaping. This includes chanelling run off water through a proper drainage system, according to the developers of Gasing Heights - a luxury condominium project located along the Gasing Ridge Green Belt in Petaling Jaya.

Act used to stop several projects on hillslopes 18/12/1993 NST
PENANG, Fri. - Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad said the State Government has used the Land Conservation Act 1960 several times in stopping developers from carrying out projects at hillslopes. He said this included the decision to reject the application to develop Penang Hill.

Tree cutting by-law to come into force in Ipoh next year 18/12/1993 NST
IPOH, Fri. - Housing developers will not be allowed to cut trees from next year without City Hall's approval, Datuk Bandar Datuk Ismail Shah Bodin said. At the opening of the Jelapang Maju light industrial area, he said developers would also have to submit a detailed survey plan indicating the number of trees in the area and how many would be retained.

People who are involved 19/12/1993 SUM
AT least 20 categories of professionals and tradesmen are involved in putting up a building - be it a bungalow or a high-rise structure. While some groups are highly trained, others pick up expertise on the job. There is also a problem of coordinating the work of all these groups so that defects are eliminated as the process moves from one stage to another.

The missing quality in building trades 19/12/1993 SUM
URGENT corrective actions must be taken to stop the erosion of quality in the education, training and attitudes of building industry personnel. The Highland Towers disaster in Ulu Klang, Kuala Lumpur, should prompt governmental authorities and professional bodies to insist on a greater commitment by all industry personnel to the concept of total quality.

Ting: Suspension a sacrifice by condo developers 19/12/1993 NSUNT
KUALA LUMPUR, Sat. - It is a sacrifice on the part of condominium developers to temporarily suspend their projects, particularly those on hillslopes although approval had been given. Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Ting Chew Peh said this was necessary to ensure that safety was not being compromised.

Hills stripped of forest cover to make way for resorts, roads 19/12/1993 NSUNT
THE development of our hills is fast gaining momentum. A drive around the country unveils some rugged terrain stripped bare of forest cover to make way for resorts and roads. As a RM318 million golf resort in Fraser's Hill is taking shape, another one costing RM310 million is being built in Jelebu, Negri Sembilan. In Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands, more resort apartments are coming up. Even Gunung Ledang in Johor is not spared.

Need for strict enforcement 19/12/1993 NSUNT
WHY is there rampant and uncontrolled clearing of hills despite laws like the Land Conservation Act 1960 which serves to protect hills against soil erosion and siltation? The crux of the matter, on which the Department of Environment, soil experts and environmentalists unanimously agree, is the absence of enforcement of the Act by State authorities and the Land and Mines Department.

The danger of greed and folly 19/12/1993 NSUNT
ONLY a miracle can now save the survivors trapped in the rubble of the collapsed Highland Towers apartment block in Hulu Klang, Selangor. Eight days have passed since the 12-storey building was swept off its foundation by an erosion-induced landslide and collapsed face down, trapping or killing more than 50 occupants.

Ipoh to enforce new by-law on cutting of hills and trees 18/12/1993 BT
IPOH City Council will enforce a new by-law on the cutting of hills and trees from January to avert disasters arising from development projects. Datuk Bandar Datuk Ismail Shah Bodin said yesterday offenders will be liable to a fine of RM20,000 or RM500 for each day they ignored order to stop work on their projects.

Mazlan clarifies stand on high rises in Bangsar 20/12/1993 NST-CITYX
DATUK Bandar Datuk Mazlan Ahmad said he has not declared that no more condominiums would be built in Bangsar, but admitted the existing number is too many for any one area. He said City Hall would scrutinise applications to build high rise homes in Bangsar before approving more.

Builders act to reassure condo buyers 20/12/1993 NST-CITYX
SOME developers of upcoming high rise condominiums and apartments have begun advertising that their projects are being built on flat land in a bid to reassure buyers of the projects' safety. By stating that the projects are being built on flat land, these developers also hope to stabilise the price of high rise condominiums and apartments.

Stop projects, say Bkt Bandaraya folk 20/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Sun. - The residents of Bukit Bandaraya want all condominium construction on the hill to be stopped immediately as they feel it is already "overloaded" with such blocks. They also want City Hall to appoint a competent and independent consultant to conduct a study on the safety of the existing condominium blocks.

Don't be too hasty, councils told 20/12/1993 NST
KLANG, Sun. - Local and district councils in Selangor are reminded not to be too hasty in approving plans involving development projects as they should look into the safety measures proposed by the developers and study the location of the proposed projects. Selangor Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Abu Sujak Mahmud said local authorities should strictly follow the guidelines before approving project plans especially if they do not want to have a tragedy such as that in Hulu Klang.

Safety checks must be an on-going exercise 20/12/1993 NST
IT HAS taken another tragedy to jolt the nation to realise how important it is that we must never compromise on safety when it comes to the building industry. The Highland Towers tragedy and the recent spate of collapses of buildings under construction have revealed certain weaknesses and shortcomings of those involved in the building industry, beginning with the authorities who approved the projects and the builders who put them up.

Stand up for your rights, consumers told 21/12/1993 MM
THERE is no virtue in suffering in silence when facing a violation of rights. In fact, it can be dangerous. This is the lesson learnt from the recent Highland Towers condominium collapse tragedy, said Selangor Consumer Association legal advisor Ramdas Tikamdass in his paper, Effective Complaint, at the seminar on Consumers Protection and Complaints Handling yesterday.

Freeze on hillslope projects 21/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. - The Government has suspended new approvals for the construction of all condominiums and buildings on hillslopes, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today. He said the Cabinet would decide on the approvals already given before the Highland Towers disaster.

Proposal to check all phases of building works 21/12/1993 NST
KUANTAN, Mon. - The Housing and Local Government Ministry plans to introduce a new ruling to make it compulsory for each stage of construction in housing projects, especially condominiums and flats, to be monitored and certified by qualified engineers. Its secretary-general, Datuk Umar Abu, said today that under the proposal, after every stage of construction, including earthworks, the engineers would have to certify whether works were in order.

RM600m scheme to build flats for the very poor 21/12/1993 NST
TWO-room flats will be built for very poor families in major towns facing acute squatters' problem under a RM600 million programme. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told the Dewan Negara that the low-cost flats would be rented out to the poor families at the cheapest possible rate.

Inspection of buildings questioned 21/12/1993 NST
TECHNICAL and maintenance inspection systems done on buildings by local councils were brought into question by a Government backbencher at the State Assembly yesterday. Chang See Ten (BN-Gelang Patah) said the "strange practice" in which a building put up by experts like a qualified architect and a qualified engineer is inspected at Local Government-level by a technical assistant with a diploma qualification.

Review plan to build city in sea, says DAP rep  21/12/1993 NST
THE condominium collapse tragedy in Hulu Klang, Selangor was raised in the Assembly yesterday by a member who argued against the proposed development of a RM4 billion "floating city" in the Straits of Tebrau along the main Johor Baru coastline. Mr Pang Hock Liong (DAP-Bekok) said the State Government should learn from the disaster and review the plans to build the massive project, which involves the construction of high-rise buildings on raised platforms off the seafront.

Vision needed to handle growth-related problems 21/12/1993 NST
TODAY, a nation grieves over the Highland Towers tragedy with a once proud building now lying humble, a stack of rubble with bodies trapped inside. Another block sends signals of faltering. In the aftermath, probably the most staggering revelation was that the building (and many others in the country) were actually built in contravention of laws discouraging highrise structures on hillslopes.

Curbing erosion 21/12/1993 NST
THE best solutions to some problems are sometimes the simplest. Just ask local businessman Mohd Noor Shamsuddin. He has found a quick and reasonably simple way to curb soil erosion. Given the calamity caused by the collapse of Highland Towers, his suggestion is worth considering: a fibromat made of straw with polypropylene netting which is laid on bare ground to prevent rainwater from removing the top soil while protecting the surface and allowing new grass to take root under the mat.

Developers not to blame, says HDA 21/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THE Housing Developers Association feels developers should not be held responsible for building defects, because they were financiers and land owners "who know nothing of construction". Its president Alan Tong Kok Mow disagreed with the views of several developers who said recently they were willing to take the blame, if it was established that there was no fault in design or structure.

Get some answers before adding rules 23/12/1993 NST
REFERRING to the Government's intention to introduce new rules for the construction industry in the wake of the Highland Towers tragedy, I would like to comment particularly on the proposed ruling requiring independent consultants to approve the plans of the project consultant. We should study this proposed ruling careful lest we bark up the wrong tree and add more rules to the already red-tape dictated industry.

Proposal to look into building projects 22/12/1993 BT
A COMPREHENSIVE approach to look into all aspects of ongoing construction projects in hilly areas will be proposed at the Cabinet meeting today. Meanwhile, the Government announced that no new approvals will be given for such projects.

Don't stop on-going hillslope projects, Government told 22/12/1993 NST
PETALING JAYA, Tues. - The Housing Developers' Association (HDA) today appealed to the Government not to freeze on-going construction projects on hillslopes. Its executive director, Mr Yin Ee Kok, said approval was given to a developer only when the relevant Government authorities were satisfied that all safety and environmental aspects had been fulfilled.

Negri Sembilan adopts Federal freeze on highland buildings 22/12/1993 NST
SEREMBAN, Tues. - The State Government has decided to freeze all applications for new hillslope projects in line with a similar decision by the Federal Government. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohamad Isa Abdul Samad said today that local councils would be directed to defer all decisions on applications by developers of such buildings.

Firm defies council, carries on work 22/12/1993 NST
CUKAI, Tues. - Perwaja Steel Sdn Bhd will continue construction work to complete its staff housing complex near the Terengganu-Pahang border despite the order from the Kemaman District Council, received two days ago, to stop work immediately. The housing complex is already 75 per cent complete and due for occupation next February.

Pitfalls in our concept of development 23/12/1993 NST
IN one of the most honest appraisals of the recent condominium tragedy, Kadir Jasin (Other Thots - New Sunday Times, Nov 19) expresses the hope that "the setting up of the Cabinet committee will end with a big boom. Otherwise we are doomed". It is true that if we do not remedy the pitfalls in our concept and practice of development, as a matter of utmost urgency, we may be heading towards a colossal catastrophe.

Builders told to carry out turfing 23/12/1993 NST
SEREMBAN, Wed. - The municipal council has directed developers of on-going development projects on hills, hillslopes and ex-mining land to carry out turfing and piling works to prevent soil erosion. Its deputy president Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid said failure to comply with the call could result in a directive to suspend their projects.

Penang freezes approval for condos on slopes 23/12/1993 NST
PENANG, Wed. - The State Government has frozen approvals for new applications by developers to construct condominium and high-rise buildings on hillslopes in Penang. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad said the decision was made yesterday at a meeting by the special committee which was set up by the State Government to look into the safety aspects of condomoniums and high- rise buildings at hillslopes.

City Hall inspects 18 hillside projects 23/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - City Hall has completed its preliminary inspection of 18 hillside condominium and apartment projects, concluding that some projects showed signs of soil erosion which may pose a danger in the future. City Hall assistant director (Press) Zarina Ahamad Osman, however, would not name the "troubled" projects and said that an action plan would be announced after receiving reports from all developers.

Cabinet: Halt hill projects 23/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - The Cabinet today approved 16 main recommendations pertaining to the construction of high-rise buildings in hilly areas, including the immediate stoppage of all construction activities at on- going projects. Developers can only resume work after they obtain endorsements from other accredited consultants that their projects are stable and safe. These developers have one month beginning today to provide these endorsements.

Now freeze on 11 housing projects 23/12/1993 MM
ELEVEN housing projects near where the 16Km Jalan Puchong collapsed have been ordered to stop work immediately so as not to aggravate the situation. Two of the developers whose development work is believed to have contributed to the collapse may have to foot the bill to reconstruct the damaged road.

EIA needed for hill slope projects 23/12/1993 BT
ENVIRONMENTAL Impact Assessments (EIA) will now be required for all development projects on hill slopes. This includes the construction of roads, buildings and recreational facilities. The Environmental Quality Act 1974 will be amended to provide for this. For this purpose, hill slopes will be defined as any land where the slope is 20 degrees or more.

Sweeping new rules on high-rise projects 23/12/1993 BT
SWEEPING new rules were announced by the Cabinet yesterday to curb improper construction work in hilly areas that can endanger both people and the environment. This includes putting on hold all ongoing and pending condominium and high-rise projects in these areas until their safety and stability have been verified by certified consultants.

No repeat of highland disaster 24/12/1993 NST
THE nation must be spared a repeat of the Highland Towers tragedy and the shock and grief that came with it. The Cabinet decision to adopt the recommendations of the Special Cabinet Committee on the disaster should be the first step towards achieving this objective. The most visible effect will be the immediate cessation of all construction activities on high-rise buildings in hilly areas pending endorsements from independent accredited consultants that the projects are safe. Projects which have been approved but have not commenced work are to be suspended until a firm decision on the matter is made by the Government.

Checklist of `unsafe' buildings 24/12/1993 MM
AIDED by complaints from the public, City Hall is compiling a list of occupied highrise buildings in the city suspected to be unsafe. In the wake of the Highland Towers disaster, the local authority received many calls, letters and photographs from concerned parties who feared certain buildings might suffer a similar fate.

City Hall keeping close watch on several condos 24/12/1993 BT
CITY Hall is keeping several existing condominiums and high-rise buildings under close observation following reports from the public and professional bodies that they pose a danger and are liable to collapse. Datuk Bandar Datuk Dr Mazlan Ahmad said following investigations, officers from City Hall's planning control department share the same view as the public and professional bodies on the matter.

`Pick consultants on rotation basis' call 24/12/1993 BT
PROJECT management consultant Kemasrunding has recommended that the Government adopt a rotation system in appointing independent consultants to verify the safety of building projects. Its chairman, Dr Mohamed Noor Hashim, said the Implementation Coordinating Unit at the Prime Minister's Department has a list of independent consultants engaged by the Government.

Action, action, action 24/12/1993 BT
THERE has been quick action since the collapse of a block of the Highland Towers condominiums with the loss of close to 70 lives. Whether any more lives were lost we will never know. The rescue operation mounted on December 11, the afternoon of the collapse, has come to a close with all those involved, the Singaporeans, the Japanese, the French and the local units calling it quits after 12 days. And on Wednesday even before the rescue work ceased, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced a comprehensive set of guidelines for existing high-rise buildings on hill slopes, on hills, in fact, all high-rise buildings. That the Government has moved so quickly to ensure as far as possible that such a disaster is not repeated speaks well of it and our hope to enhance the quality of life between now and our Vision 2020. It is indeed strenuous, dedicated work on the part of the high-powered Cabinet committee on the disaster chaired by Anwar himself which is responsible for this quick and detailed look at measures to prevent such disasters. Guidelines in just 12 days, in truth, less than that when you consider when the committee was set up, and its main work is already done. This is really fast forward action by the committee, which should be commended for mapping quick, comprehensive, preventive measures.

Landslips, floods threaten Jalan Puchong 25/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Fri. - More landslips and flooding are expected to occur along Jalan Puchong due to the rapid development taking place along the hillside. "Unless there is close co-ordination between the local authority and other government agencies like the Drainage and Irrigation Department and the Department of Environment, we fear a recurrence," said Serdang State Assemblyman Datuk Yap Pian Hon.

Builders under fire 25/12/1993 MM
SEVERAL developers along Jalan Puchong have defied a condition by the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to build a proper drainage system before starting work on their projects. Their non-compliance has resulted in frequent flash floods and severe erosion near their project sites - problems that led to the collapse of 16Km Jalan Puchong before midnight on Monday.

Work still going on at condo site 25/12/1993 MM
WORK on the Pantai Panorama condominiums on the hillock of Bukit Angkasa in Kampung Kerinchi is still going on despite a Cabinet decision to halt work on high-rise buildings in hilly areas. When a Malay Mail reporter visited the site yesterday, workers were seen working on pillars while a huge crane on top of a block was used to transport equipment from the ground.

`Investigate other factors'  25/12/1993 MM
THE developer of Bandar Puchong Jaya, in admitting land clearing in their area partially contributed to the collapse of 16Km Jalan Puchong, said there are other factors that should be investigated. Pilihan Mega Sdn Bhd, the developer of the project, said the authorities should look into possibilities like the direction of water flow, capacity of retention ponds in the area, outlet from the ponds to Sungai Klang, work at the nearby quarry and rapid development of the Puchong area.

New rules on high-rise projects welcomed 25/12/1993 BT
THE Board of Engineers Malaysia has welcomed the Cabinet decision requiring developers to verify their construction of high-rise buildings on hilly areas with an independent consultant. Its secretary Haniff Mohamed Ariff said yesterday the board supports the move and believes that "getting the views of two consultants is better than depending on only one opinion."

Hopes of starting a new in ruins 26/12/1993 NSUNT
WHILE Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas have had more than their fair share of buildings collapses in the past year, the Highland Towers Block A tragedy in Hulu Klang has brought the issue sharply into focus. Previous incidents, such as the factory collapse in Puchong Perdana, have been put down to negligence or use of poor construction materials.

Poor law enforcement is to blame 26/12/1993 NSUNT
AS much as we would like to help the grieving families of the victims of the Highland Towers condominium tragedy overcome their sorrow and great sense of loss, we will continue to ask what had gone wrong that led to the Dec 11 catastrophe. The tendency to hush up things unpleasant so that we can quickly overcome our sorrow and anger does not help.

DOE to act against resort developer 26/12/1993 NSUNT
IPOH, Sat. - The Perak Department of Environment (DOE) plans to take action against the developer of Meru Valley Resort for carrying out construction work without approval. A department spokesman said it had completed investigations and sent the investigation papers to the DOE headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for their views and instruction before proceeding with legal action.

Ending the defiance 26/12/1993 NSUNT
JOHOR BARU, Sat. - The Housing and Local Government Ministry will issue a directive on Monday to all 143 local authorities to monitor high-rise projects on hillslopes and projects on ex-mining land to ensure that the Cabinet order for all such work to stop is complied with. Its Minister, Datuk Dr Ting Chew Peh, said today the directive would also require the local authorities to issue written notices to all developers to halt work until the projects are certified safe by independent consultants.

Writ to stop work 27/12/1993 NST
PROPERTY developers and building contractors put plenty on the line in the slow but high-spinning turnover of their businesses. Reaching the crest of a rebound in a risky business cycle, what would it take for a handful of closely scheduled, tightly inventorised, elaborately financed and fully onstream multi-million ringgit construction projects, running just-in- time, to suspend work? Not a regulatory authority, certainly not a moral compunction, nor a contingent safety reappraisal, in the wake of a disaster, not even the Federal Cabinet. Until manual enforcement arrives at the doorstep, it appears that no directive from above is persuasive enough to quell the profit motive.

Some tips on making high-rise buildings safer 27/12/1993 NST
MALAYSIA is indeed a blessed country. We escape the volcanic belts, we do not experience earthquakes except some minor tremors once in a while, we do not experience typhoons or hurricanes except strong winds (the tail end of the north-east monsoon in the east coast), we do not experience tidal (tsunami) floods on the scale experienced by some countries (so much so when the Klang River overflowed its banks more than 20 years ago, we called it a national disaster), and we are so blessed that nobody died of starvation and hunger even in the worst of times during the Japanese occupation.

Lee: Set up panel to ensure RM1.4b housing plan's success 27/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Sun. - A special committee should be set up by the Housing and Local Government Ministry to monitor the implementation of the RM1.4 billion low-cost housing package announced by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the 1994 Budget. National Consumer Protection Advisory Council member Lee Lam Thye said the committee should be chaired by the Ministry's secretary-general (Datuk Umar Abu) and it should ensure that there were no hitches in implementing the programme which is aimed at addressing worsening housing problems among the lower income groups, especially in the urban areas.

False sense of security shatters 27/12/1993 NST-CITYX
RECENT events with its tragic consequences have cruelly exposed our propensity to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted. For a long time, we have smugly cocooned ourselves in the the belief that we were somehow shielded by some divine blessing while everyone else in foreign lands had to contend with regular bouts of doom and disaster.

`Make geological report on site mandatory' 27/12/1993 MM
PROPER geological studies should be a mandatory prerequisite for approval of high-rise development projects, especially those located on hilly terrain. The Geological Society of Malaysia, in making the proposal, said the Highland Towers tragedy could have been minimised, if not averted, had sufficient geological studies been conducted on the site and surrounding areas.

Shortage of experts 27/12/1993 MM
THE lack of competent professionals in local governments is a contributing factor to the ills plaguing the country's construction industry. It is learnt that many of the smaller local authorities do not have competent engineers, architects, geologists, or building and land surveyors to verify building plans.

Too many British standards 27/12/1993 MM
THE proposed Malaysian Code of Practice for Earthworks, currently being drafted by the authorities, has not gone down well with the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram). "The drafting committee adopted British standards almost wholesale except for obvious details like things related to icy conditions," said Ikram head of geotechnical division Dr Nik Ramlan Nik Hassan.

Impose greater accountability on civil servants 27/12/1993 BT
TOLERANCE is a trait that Malaysians are much admired for. It is a trait that is difficult to acquire and which many other societies lack. Tolerance is one of the strengths that has enabled Malaysians to overcome a lot of hurdles, difficulties and challenges. It is among the ingredients that help give character to the nation, that contribute towards the uniqueness that is Malaysia. But have we carried this trait a bit too far? Has tolerance been carried beyond the bounds of moderation? These questions are begging to be asked in the wake of the collapse of the 12storey apartment building just outside Kuala Lumpur on December 11. At least 72 people are said to have been killed, but no one will ever know for sure the exact number. It has yet to be firmly established what caused the earth movements that resulted in the 11-year-old building falling on its face, and an adjacent one to tilt and crack up to the extent that it has been rendered unsafe to be occupied.

Malacca to examine proposals to build condominiums: Rahim 27/12/1993 BT
THE Malacca Government will scrutinise all applications for the construction of condominiums in hilly areas and by the beach, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik said yesterday. He added that the study is important to ensure condominiums are safe structurally and geophysically. Several companies had submitted applications to build condominiums in hilly areas

DPM: We will act against those who defy order 28/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. - The Government will not hesitate to act against developers who defy the Cabinet's decision to suspend construction work on high-rise buildings on hilly areas until declared safe, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said. To ensure the Cabinet directive was strictly observed, he said all local authorities had been directed to submit reports on the conditions of projects on hillslopes and hilltops to their respective State Governments.

Builders cool to Sirim's call to employ ISO9000 28/12/1993 NST
PORT DICKSON, Mon. - The construction sector has responded poorly to the Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia's call to employ the ISO9000 to improve quality in the sector. Sirim director-general Datuk Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said today since its proposal to the construction sector to participate in the scheme in January, no company or individual had submitted applications for certification to improve the quality of their development projects.

`We lack experts' 28/12/1993 MM
AT least two councils in Selangor where several high-rise building projects are underway have conceded they do not have competent staff of their own to ensure that projects being carried out in the district are being done to specifications laid down in the plans. The Gombak and Hulu Langat district councils both said they depended on "outside help" when the projects are tabled for discussion during their monthly planning committee meetings.

Councils issue directives 28/12/1993 MM
THE Ampang Jaya Municipal Council has started issuing stop-work orders to developers of condominiums on hilly areas and its surrounding areas. The council has also despatched its enforcement units to conduct checks to ensure developers did as instructed.

Bare hills aplenty  28/12/1993 MM
NOTHING, not even the Highland Towers tragedy, has stopped hillslope land stripping work from being carried out in some parts of Selangor and Negri Sembilan. Housing developers, including an investment arm of the Selangor Government, and their panels of engineers and architects are content in leaving these hillslopes bare and turning them into potential landslides.

Builders hope to meet DPM to clarify matters 28/12/1993 BT
THE principal parties in the construction industry hope to meet Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to clarify matters on the construction of buildings on hill slopes. Housing Developers Association (HDA) executive director Yin Ee Kok said yesterday they hope to restore confidence in the construction of highrise buildings.

Kedah perketat lulus projek rumah 28/12/1993 BH By Hassan Ahmad
ALOR STAR, Isnin - Kedah memperketatkan kelulusan projek perumahan dengan memastikan hanya pemaju yang benar- benar mampu diberi peluang berbuat demikian pada masa depan. Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan negeri, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, berkata langkah itu bertujuan mengelakkan masalah projek terbengkalai dan pembinaan rumah tidak bermutu.

Guidelines given on ways to stop errant developers 28/12/1993 BT
LOCAL authorities in Selangor have been given guidelines on how to enforce the Cabinet's decision to stop that developers stop all work on condominium and high-rise highrise development projects in hilly areas until they are deemed certified safe. Deputy State Secretary (I) Mohamad Napis said these guidelines spell out what the developers need to submit to the local authorities before their projects can be allowed to continue.

Greed rears its ugly head 28/12/1993 BT
GREED, corruption and a yen to make quick profits lead to many misadventures and, what is worse, can affect the lives of many innocent and unsuspecting individuals. The collapse of the Highland Towers condominium block and the blatant disregard for the Cabinet directive to stop all work on highrise and hillside buildings until they are declared safe cannot be condoned by anyone in their right mind. Land may be a State matter but it does not mean that the various developers and local authorities can ignore the well-intentioned decision. Does it require the long arm of the law before any more deaths and disasters the likes of the Highland Towers are avoided? Surely the businessmen, contractors and developers must have the moral responsibility and the conscience to ensure that the safety of everyone is ensured. This does not require laws; it only requires a caring attitude, people with moral responsibility and righteous attitude.

Govt warns errant developers of stern action 28/12/1993 BT
THE Government has warned of stern action against developers who have defied the Cabinet directive for construction work on high-rise projects on hillslopes to be halted pending verification of the safety of both buildings and the adjacent environment. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said to ensure that the Cabinet directive is adhered to by developers, all local authorities will be asked to immediately submit reports on development projects situated on hillslopes to the respective state governments.

Call for soil reports to set up database 29/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - All branches of the Housing Developers Association of Malaysia (HDAM) have been advised to submit soil investigation reports of projects implemented to the Geological Survey Department to help the government build up a database on soil characteristics in the various areas. In a Press statement, HDAM executive director Yin Ee Kok said the association took cognisance of the governments concern for the need to strenghten the various Acts and Building By-Laws from time to time so as to provide proper guidelines.

Landslide caused collapse, says council 29/12/1993 NST
KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - Block A of the Highland Towers apartments collapsed because of a landslide, according to the preliminary findings of the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council. The findings were compiled by an inquiry committee set up by the council to look into the Dec 11 tragedy which claimed the lives of 73 people.

MB: No need to set up special committee 29/12/1993 NST
KANGAR, Tues. - Menteri Besar Dr Abdul Hamid Pawanteh today said it is not necessary for Perlis to set up a special committee to determine the safety standards of buildings in the State as existing procedures are already sufficient. He said there were very few applications from developers to construct high-rise buildings.

Pusat diminta pinda Akta KWSP 29/12/1993 BH
TUARAN, Selasa - Kerajaan Pusat disaran meminda Akta Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) bagi membolehkan pembeli yang terbabit dalam projek rumah terbengkalai membuat pinjaman bagi memulihkan projek itu. Permintaan itu dikemukakan oleh sekumpulan pembeli rumah projek terbengkalai di Taman View Point, Inanam yang dikenakan bayaran tambahan antara RM7,000 dan RM9,000 bagi memulihan projek berkenaan.

Builders support call for ISO9000 certification
29/12/1993 MM
DEVELOPERS support the call by a government agency for those involved in the construction industry to apply for ISO9000 certification for quality management in major building projects to minimise failures. The Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Sirim) had urged them to do so as this would lead to efficient project implementation, better control over costs and schedules.

Anwar makes surprise check on condo resort 29/12/1993 BT
DEPUTY Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made a surprise inspection of the Desa Hill Condo Resort in Petaling near Kuala Lumpur yesterday to check on reports that certain developers are defying the Cabinet's directive to stop work on high-rise projects on hill slopes until the safety and environmental aspects of the construction are verified. The order was issued last Wednesday after the Special Cabinet Committee on the Highland Towers condominium collapse, headed by Anwar, made its recommendations.

Appoint your own consultant engineers, developers told 29/12/1993 BT
KUALA Lumpur City Hall and the Selangor Government will not provide developers of high-rise projects on hilly areas with a list of consultants to choose from to certify the safety of their buildings. City Hall assistant director (Press) Zarina Ahmad Osman said as developers are required to submit the safety report, they themselves have to appoint the consultant engineers.

Making high-rise buildings safer through tougher rules 30/12/1993 NST
IN our recent development, we are witnessing indifferently environmental abuse, exhaustion of natural resources and harmful alteration of nature's balance. It is not always possible and is rarely easy to know what the environmental consequences are in certain developments.

`Repair' fund for builders 30/12/1993 MM
DEVELOPERS with new projects in Gombak will soon have to contribute to a fund to finance major repairs in the wake of development-related disasters. The Gombak District Council will meet today to propose the setting up of the fund called the Improvement Service Fund.

In the dark over `freeze' 30/12/1993 MM
UP to yesterday afternoon, contractors for at least three of the five hillside development projects which were issued stopwork orders by City Hall on Tuesday were in the dark about the directives. However, it is learnt that this was clarified when the local authority met the developers at a meeting yesterday evening.

Three withdrawn from freeze list 30/12/1993 MM
CITY HALL has withdrawn three low-rise projects from the list of 23 hillside development projects issued with stop-work orders in the wake of the Highland Towers apartment tragedy. It is learnt that City Hall changed its mind because these projects involved construction of buildings below five storeys.

Revamp building sector before more disasters strike 30/12/1993 BT
By Jennifer Jacobs FOR want of a nail, a horseshoe was lost, for want of a horseshoe, a horse was lost, for want of a horse a soldier was lost, for want of a soldier, the battle was lost, for want of a battle, the war was lost. And all for the sake of a horseshoe nail. Which all goes to show that some of the worst disasters are triggered by small and seemingly unimportant incidents. Such as the seemingly unimportant and inconsequential piece of legislation, namely, the Land Conservation Act 1960, which seems little more than a cosmetic embellishment for all the importance that has been placed on it.

Bring back sound values or we destroy ourselves 31/12/1993 NST
I REFER to the letter under the heading "Condo collapse shows our weaknesses" (NST, Dec 25) by Syed Hussein of Ampang and wish to add my observations. It is probably no big boast to say that the written laws of this land could fill up a significant part of the public library. In the past two decades, not many people can keep count of how many new laws have been introduced.

Don't abandon projects, builders told 30/12/1993 BT
CONDOMINIUM developers, especially those whose projects are on hillsides, have again been reminded not to abandon the project sites. The stop-work ruling is only meant for them to stop construction activities.

Proposal for fund to pay for repairs 31/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THE Gombak District Council has proposed the setting up of a contingency fund to pay for repairs and maintenance on damaged infrastructure in newly-built housing projects. It will be called the Development Services Fund and will be administered by the council with contributions from the respective housing developers.

Petaling to seek outside expertise 31/12/1993 NST-CITYX
THE Petaling District Council, affected by several mishaps over the past two months, has sought the assistance of independent engineers to review the "problematic projects" in its area to avoid a recurrence. Three mishaps have hit the council. A factory block collapse, the collapse of three floors of building under construction and a road cave-in have raised the concern of the local authority while the recent State Government directive has emphasised the need for checks on approved and ongoing highrise buildings.

More high-rise projects 31/12/1993 MM
THERE is a big increase in high-rise building projects in Port Dickson in the past three years but only one engineer to vet building plans. Nine projects are being constructed and another six waiting for approval.

`Firm had stopped work on project' 31/12/1993 MM
THE manager of the Bukit OUG townhouse-condominium project in Jalan Klang Lama, MBf Property Services Sdn Bhd, had denied that construction work on the high-rise project is still on. A spokeswoman said the company had stopped work on its hillside project after the Cabinet directed developers of high-rise buildings on hilly areas to stop work until their projects are certified safe.

Burden fear in `repairs' fund 31/12/1993 MM
THE Gombak District Councils proposal to set up a Services Improvement Fund made up of contributions from new developers for repair work on their project could become a burden to the council. Expressing scepticism over its feasibility, a Selangor State Executive Councillor Datuk Saidin Tamby said that based on the working paper, all developers, including those involved in the construction of only one bungalow, have to pay a certain rate.

MBAM wants Govt to set up building tribunal 31/12/1993 BT
THE Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) has asked the Government to establish a tribunal that will review building contracts to ensure fair sharing of risks and obligations in the construction industry. The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT), similar to one in practice in the UK will comprise representatives from all sectors of the construction industry.

Builders need time to obey directives 31/12/1993 BT
CONTRACTORS could not immediately obey the Cabinet's directive to stop work on hillside projects because of the time needed to secure the construction site and due to contractual obligations. Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Kong Yee Peng said contractors were faced with a dilemma when the Cabinet ordered that all work on ongoing high-rise buildings on hilly areas be stopped until their safety can be verified

 

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