After SUKE incident, local councils told to drop ‘tidak-apa’ attitude

A safety advocate has lambasted local councils for their ‘tidak-apa‘ attitude over construction site safety, adding the authorities need to seriously buck up.

Former National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said local councils had an obligation and duty to ensure the work sites are safe and the work does not disrupt the lives of the residents and commuters.

“Local councils must ensure the roads are clear of debris and potholes. Most of the time, the roads near construction sites are like a rollercoaster and there are potholes everywhere.

“The local authorities have to come in. They must look into the needs of the public. They must buck up as they have an obligation and duty to ensure areas near the work sites are safe for all.”

Lee was responding to a recent incident near Bandar Tasik Selatan. In the Sept 19 incident, a parapet wall slab from the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (SUKE) project fell and hit a car on the Middle Ring Road 2.

The woman in the car injured her left hand.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who visited the site, said the ministry would not compromise on public safety and firm action would be taken based on the outcome of investigations.

Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has asked Kuala Lumpur City Hall and related agencies to review the regulations at construction sites to tighten safety.

It remains to be seen if the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council will do the same as those living in the municipality have also been subjected to poorly lit roads, potholes, mudslides and flash floods due to construction work.

Two other incidents involving SUKE over the past four months are:

  • June 20 – A steel mould framework fell onto the ground during disassembly near Taman Bukit Manda’rina Second Enclave in Cheras, almost hitting a worker and a passing vehicle. A stop-work order for was issued by Occupational Safety and Health Department.
  • July 7 – A beam fell from an elevated position onto the road below at the Persiaran Alam Damai stretch in Cheras. Traffic had to be diverted.

Lee, however, admitted local councils are least interested when it comes to safety at construction sites.

“Perhaps they don’t have sufficient enforcement personnel. But these are common roads and these roads must be safe.

“It’s just common sense. Those working in local councils use the roads, their families use the roads. They should realise something must be done.

“Their commitment to safety needs to be improved. It is high time local councils took an interest and not to have a ‘tidak apa’ attitude.”

Speaking about the Sept 19 incident, Lee said he contacted Prolintas – the highway concessionaire – to express his concern.

“Its Group CEO Datuk Mohammad Azlan Abdullah was very polite and even texted me to inform me the efforts that were taken. Prolintas voluntarily ordered a stop-work order and he had even visited the site,” said Lee.

“In a way, my comments did not fall on deaf ears.”

“I’m not the minister, not the law enforcer … but being someone who is concerned about safety, it is my right to speak.

“We should not allow such accidents to happen and then talk about safety measures. We should be proactive,” he added.

He also said the series of incidents involving construction projects and the accident between a crane and a car at Taman Bukit Cheras on Sept 20 do not reflect well on the construction industry.

“The hit-and-run accident … although unrelated (to SUKE) but it’s an issue that affects public image and confidence.

“The relevant ministries and agencies must take a firm stand on all these matters.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.


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