Malaysiakini

Reveal gaps and shortcuts in Umno HQ construction

YOURSAY ‘The authorities must get to the bottom of this tragedy. They owe it to the families of the victims and to the public.’

Umno HQ built before plan approval, claims MP

your sayKit P: If there were gaps and shortcuts taken during the construction of the building, they need to be aired now. The time for sweeping dirt under the carpet is over.

The gusts of wind in Penang on Thursday evening were very strong, but not typhoon-strength. The structure that fell down wasn't some zinc-roof awning or other temporary construction.

An outdoor structure meant to last the life of the building should not have fallen down like that.

The authorities need to get to the bottom of this tragedy. They owe it to the families of the victims and to the public.

Odin: That the building was constructed before the working drawings had been submitted for approval is, of course, an important matter.

But what is more serious and relevant than that vis-a-vis the tragedy is whether the structure that failed had been designed, constructed (or fabricated) and erected well.

It must, of necessity, be designed to withstand storms, but what level of storm strength had been used?

Offshore drilling and production platforms, for instance, are typically designed to withstand, among other things, the theoretically worst possible storm that may occur in a century.

Heavenly King: "Just because work was allowed to commence before the building plan (was approved) does not mean the structure is unsafe or not strong," said Penang Umno Youth chief Shaik Hussein Mydin.

Does it mean that members of the public can also commence work before their building plans are approved? Umno should be the first to respect and abide by the law and not be the one to break it.

So, former Penang exco Teng Hock Nan, why can't the people question your government's decision to allow Umno to break the law and cover it up?

FellowMalaysian: It is very likely that the city council and the previous state government be called to answer for the highly unusual practice of issuing the commencement of work permit some 18 months before any building plans were submitted.

Also, the incident happened seemingly as a result of a critical failure of part of the structural support system of the building. Reinforced-concrete elements such as beams and slabs were ripped away and left dangling in the air.

It was not just a problem concerning the boom of the lighting arrestors being struck by lightning as was initially thought.

A competent team of structural engineers need to be quickly appointed by the state to investigate and appraise the cause of the failure.

While Penang Municipal Council (MPPP), Umno and the state work out an appropriate solution, the victims' families need to be compensated for their tragic losses.

Anonymous$&@?: Most importantly; find out the following:

1) Was the yearly inspection carried out by the respective government department responsible for all erected structures like telecommunication towers as required by law?

2) Are there records showing that yearly inspection was done on this particular structure?

3) Is there a government department that is responsible for yearly inspection of all public structures like bridges and other structures, including privately built telecommunication towers?

If answers are 'no' to the above questions then we are in serious trouble.

Anthony John: Five years is sufficient to point out all the faults of the previous government.  The current administration should concentrate on governing the state efficiently so that all Penangites can benefit from the Pakatan government.

Enough of fault finding. The people of Penang deserve better.

Anonymous #708871335: In the interest of justice to the family of the dead and injured, we have to establish any possible wrongdoing so that future occurrence of such disasters can be prevented.

Do we want more people to die? Is Umno above the law so much so that public safety and lives are compromised.

Please don’t cover up the wrongdoing by saying that we must respect the dead. If you really respect the dead, then find out what went wrong.

Anonymous_3e06: This is a natural cum man-made disaster and people have died, so we need to uncover the truth.

The truth is Umno built the building without approval. That is wrong. People in power have to be more responsible than others. Umno had used its power to arm-twist Gerakan to give it the go-ahead.

Harapanbaru: The ‘lightning arrestor’ appeared outsized and only for show - so typical of everything BN does. It was probably bolted and embedded within a huge block of low-grade concrete.

After nearly 20 years, the steel bolts must have rusted and the concrete brittle and weak. In any case, the building owners must at least compensate those who suffered death, injury and damage.

The state government already has to cover the high costs of repairing and restoring damaged pipes and the road surface.

Clearwater: Whether the Umno HQ was built before its plans were approved is a question of fact. Yes or no? Whether it was built safe and sound according to accepted standards, is another issue altogether.

Swipenter: I don't agree with Teng's argument and logic. If we accept his reasoning and argument, then I can build my house before I submit my plans for approval so long as it was designed by an architect of international repute.

Whether the architect is of international repute or not is not the point. The point is you broke the law by building first before submitting the plans for approval.

Cala: First things first, the Professional Engineers Act (PEA) matters. Regardless of how long ago the said structure (the lightning protector) had been built, as long as it is a structure that comes under the control of the PEA, then the engineer who designed it and supervised the construction, can still be held as liable.

In other words, the question to ask is, is it an engineering structure?

If it is not, the person responsible would be the architect. He is the person who should be held accountable for the tragedy.

Pariah Man: Who was Penang Umno chief then? It was all to make the boss happy. He was none other than Pakatan Rakyat's candidate for prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.

Wira: Basically one does not need such a massive structure for a lightning arrestor. I suspect the reason for such an arrestor was to increase the official height of the building so that with it the Umno building could then become the second tallest building in the state.

Bobster: Quote: Teng said the incident was “a technical problem which happened during a natural disaster", which the architect and engineers could not have foreseen at the time of construction.

Hello, Teng, all buildings and structures built according to international standards must be able to withstand the wind load in the country, irrespective whether there is a storm. As a former exco, do you know what are you talking about?

Siang Malam: Teng, please show us the provisions in the law where a building can be constructed before a building plan has been submitted or approved?

Chiabee2: "There are many other buildings with structures too, but as long as the architect is responsible and willing to pay the fine if they do not comply with the guidelines, procedures and building plan, it is acceptable," Teng noted.

You hear it, this is the culture advocated by Umno-BN - everything else is secondary as long as one is willing to pay.


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