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Minister heckled by irate Subang resident over hillslope threat
16/02/2009 NST By Adrian David


For the second consecutive day, Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed was involved in a drama with the public. This time he was interrupted by a Bukit Antarabangsa resident during a Press conference after opening the `Safe hill-site development’ seminar at a hotel here today.

The resident, a retired army major Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman, who was also a seminar participant, wanted to know when the risk assessment report on the Dec 6 landslide in Hulu Kelang would be ready.
The landslide caused the destruction of 14 bungalows, five deaths, 90 people injured and left 1,000 homes declared unsafe for occupation. Also, 5,000 residents had been ordered to vacate their homes.

Rafick, who works with a German firm as a consultant, claimed he and his family in Taman Bukit Utama were living in fear, not to mention being financially burdened with loan repayments for a property worth RM600,000.

“I travel alone a lot and fear for the safety of my family. I and the thousands of other residents still living there need to know if it is safe to stay put or vacate. This is a question of life and death,” he said.

When Mohd Zin told him that he was chairing a Press conference and to extend him some respect, Rafick pressed the minister for answers, saying: “This is of national concern. Can you give us (residents) some answers? When will the (risk assessment) report be ready?”

Mohd Zin then said that he was having a Press conference and Rafick should leave.

“I have every right to ask as a rakyat, resident and victim,” Rafick replied.

The minister then told Rafick to write in his grouses to which the latter said he had e-mailed to the minister and his senior officers three weeks ago but there was no response from his ministry.

Mohd Zin then asked him to write in again. Rafick then gave the minister his calling card and left. It is learnt that Mohd Zin later told one of his officers to get a report from Rafick.

On Friday, Mohd Zin was at a ceremony to abolish the New Pantai Expressway toll at the Petaling Jaya Selatan plaza, near Kampung Medan, when it was disrupted by rival political groups which turned up to claim credit.

The drama cut short Mohd Zin’s visit as he left hurriedly after a brief speech, without holding a scheduled Press conference.

Earlier in his speech yesterday, Mohd Zin called on hill-slope development engineers to take full responsibility of their projects to avert landslides, and to learn from the experience of hill-slope projects developed in countries like Hong Kong which did not compromise on safety.


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