KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi today said that the officers of his ministry have identified more than 1,000 potential landslide areas across the country.
However, the ministry is unable to take preemptive measures due to the lack of funds, he said on Astro Awani programme Consider This tonight.
"Unfortunately, we cannot take mitigation actions or preemptive actions because we are quite tight with what we have in terms of finance.
"We will do some mitigations, but oftentimes we have to be more reactive,” he said.
In the early morning incident on December 16, a total of 92 victims were involved in a landslide at the Father’s Organic Farm campsite near Batang Kali on the way to Gohtong Jaya.
Of those, 61 of whom survived, while 31 died. Of the number of casualties, 18 were adults and 13 were children, including a one-year-old baby.
The issue was the same with road maintenance as well, he said, adding that international standards call for roads to be resurfaced every five years or so depending on the type of road but that there were Malaysian roads that have not been resurfaced for more than 20 years.
“It’s very alarming. We know that we have to spend so much money to keep the standard of our roads to that level, but yet because of our shortcomings in terms of funding available to us we cannot actually carry out the maintenance as we should.
“That to me is a bit depressing,” he lamented.
If an expired road has not been repaired, the least that could happen was accidents, he explained.
He said he would appeal to the Finance Ministry for the Works Ministry’s “fair share” of the upcoming Budget when it comes to the issue of maintaining ageing public infrastructure.
However, he added that the government was attuned to the convenience and safety of the people.
“It wouldn’t be right to say the government is not really putting serious thought into maintenance,” he said.
He also admitted that he had only been in Works Ministry for 45 days and that he has to understand better how it does things.