Fourteen people were buried, three of whom were found dead in a landslide at the construction site of an affordable housing project at Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah in Penang today.
The search and rescue (SAR) operation to locate 11 buried victims was temporarily halted at 8pm and will resume at 8am tomorrow.
The victims involved in the incident which was said to have occurred within one minute were a Malaysian, a Pakistani, a Rohingya, two Indonesians and nine Bangladeshis.
The bodies of two Bangladeshis identified as Yunus and Hossain, and a Rohingya man known as Mamun were recovered from the scene. All three bodies were sent to the Penang Hospital.
Meanwhile, a victim who reportedly sustained minor injuries was also sent to the same hospital.
Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Moktar said the hill slope next to the construction site collapsed at 8.57am when the 14 victims were carrying out construction work at the basement level.
The weather was fine when the incident occurred and no rain had been reported in the area since three days ago.
Penang police chief Chuah Ghee Lye said the preliminary focus was on the SAR operation by relevant agencies as the victims were believed to be buried up to a depth of 10 metres.
The SAR team comprised 130 personnel and members of the police; Fire and Rescue Department; Malaysian Civil Defence Force; Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart); K9 Unit; Penang Hospital; Penang City Council; People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) and non-governmental organisations.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said a full investigation will be carried out by the Penang government into the landslide tragedy.
"I’m shocked by the tragedy, an investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted, a full state inquiry," he told reporters when met at the scene.
He said the matter would be discussed in the state executive council meeting next week.
Following the incident, Lim said he had instructed Penang City Council mayor Maimunah Mohd Sharif to investigate all construction projects in the state to ensure the safety of workers and to avoid a recurrence.