Daxing International Airport opens in Beijing, Awards to celebrate PRC 70th anniversary


Beijing’s new mega airport opens today. Daxing International Airport is the second airport in the capital and will likely ease congestion at Beijing Capital International Airport

Building China’s $12BN Mega Airport

No stranger to record-breaking projects, China has now completed one of
the largest airports ever conceived – the USD $12BN Daxing International
in Beijing.

 

China opens new Beijing airport ahead of 70th PRC’s anniversary

In this image made from CCTV video taken Sept. 17, 2019, an aerial view is seen of the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. The Chinese capital, Beijing, has opened a second international airport with a  terminal billed as the world’s biggest. (CCTV via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping on Wednesday inaugurated a second international airport for the Chinese capital with the world’s biggest terminal ahead of celebrations of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Beijing Daxing International Airport is designed to handle 72 million passengers a year. Located on the capital’s south side, it was built in less than five years at a cost of 120 billion yuan ($17 billion).

The airline’s first commercial flight, a China Southern Airlines plane bound for the southern province of Guangdong, took off Wednesday afternoon, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Six more flights took off later for Shanghai and other destinations.

The main Beijing airport, located in the city’s northeast, is the world’s second-busiest after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and is nearing capacity.

Daxing, designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, includes a terminal billed as the world’s biggest at 1 million square meters (11 million square feet).

Despite that, its builders say travelers will need to walk no more than 600 meters (2,000 feet) to reach any boarding gate.

The vast, star-shaped airport is about 45 kilometers (30 miles) south of downtown Beijing. It has four runways, with plans for as many as three more.

Carriers including British Airways and state-owned China Southern, the country’s biggest airline by passengers, plan to move to Daxing from Beijing Capital International Airport.

The capital has a third airport, Nanyuan, for domestic flights, but the government says that will close once Daxing is in operation.

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Live: National awards ceremony to celebrate PRC 70th anniversary国家勋章和国家荣誉称号颁授仪式

Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a presidential decree on September 17 to award 42 Chinese and foreign individuals with national medals and honorary titles. The awards come as the People’s Republic of China prepares to celebrate its 70th founding anniversary on October 1

Forty-two people were awarded national medals and honorary titles by
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
on September 29.

Thai princess speaks on behalf of China’s Medal of Friendship recipients

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Huawei launches ‘fastest’ AI cluster, challenging Google in computing; unveils flagship Mate 30 series, along with Watch GT 2 smartwatch and Vision TV snap on like a pro!


https://youtu.be/bxGdjMLrDho

 Snap on like a pro, Mate

Huawei Launches ‘World’s Fastest AI Training  Cluster

Huawei launches “world’s fastest AI training cluster” – Verdict

Huawei launches Atlas 900, world’s fastest AI training cluster

Focus on computing could challenge industry leaders like Google: analysts

Visitors check out devices at the Huawei Connect 2019 in Shanghai on Wednesday. Photo: Shen Weiduo/GT

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies on Wednesday unveiled its ambition in the computing sector by laying out its strategy for the $2 trillion sector and releasing what it claims to be the world’s fastest artificial intelligence (AI) training cluster, the Atlas 900, a move that industry analysts said could challenge industry giants like Google.

Huawei’s foray into the computing area also comes after steady progress it made in 5G businesses and the proprietary operating system HarmonyOS, showing the industry giant’s defiance and resilience amid the US intensified crackdown over the past year. it also marks another milestone for the company, said analysts.

“When most people think Huawei, they think connections…But our work doesn’t stop at connectivity. Both connections and computing are key,” Ken Hu (Houkun), deputy chairman of Huawei, spoke of Huawei’s ambitions in the industry at the Huawei Connect 2019, an annual conference held by the industry giant in Shanghai, which runs from Wednesday to Friday.

“In terms of Huawei’s investment, they’re equally important. In the past, we mostly talked about connections. Today I’d like to focus on computing,” Hu said. The future of computing is a massive market worth more than $2 trillion by 2023, where Huawei wants to carve out a space.

Huawei also introduced sectors it will focus on in the industry, including architectural innovation, investment in its all-scenario processors and the construction of an open ecosystem, which will involve an investment of another $1.5 billion in its developer program.

From the launch of its chip series and proprietary operating system to servers, to the computing layout, it is stepping up efforts to build up a comprehensive ability amid the US’ intensified crackdown, Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Xiang said these moves indicate the US crackdown will not contain the company’s growth.

Apart from the official debut of its computing strategy, Huawei on Wednesday also unveiled the Atlas 900, which it claimed is the fastest AI training cluster that combines the power of thousands of its proprietary Ascend processors.

Building on the technical strength it has developed over the past decade, Huawei said that Atlas 900 takes only 59.8 seconds to train ResNet-50, a type of artificial neural network that is the gold standard for measuring AI training performance. This is 10 seconds faster than the previous world record.

“The layout in the computing sector and launch of training clusters mainly aim to serve as rivals to industry giants like Google, which now has the strongest computing power in the world. The world’s major breakthroughs in the AI sector also come from Google,” Jiang Junmu, chief writer at the telecom industry news website c114.com.cn, who covers Huawei closely, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The biggest barrier to AI development is the lack of computing ability, but this is also where Huawei sees opportunity, Jiang said.


US ban effect

Being on a US blacklist since May 16, which restricts many US companies from selling products to Huawei, has cast a shadow on its businesses. While playing down the US effect, Hu said on Wednesday during the opening remarks that “Huawei has been doing just fine, like the good weather in Shanghai today.”

He told reporters that Huawei has secured more than 50 contracts even amid the baseless security accusations from the US, and the number is still increasing. He estimated that 5G businesses will start contributing to revenue by the end of next year with the full roll-out of 5G services in China.

Still, insiders pointed out uncertainties for the giant. For instance, the company, which is also the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, is scheduled to launch a high-end smartphone Mate 30 series on Thursday. Whether the new handset will be able to run Google’s Android operating system and apps may affect its sales.

Huawei rotating chairman Eric Xu (Zhijun) said last month that while the impact of the US curbs was weaker than previously expected, there would still be at least $10 billion in losses in its smartphone unit’s revenue this year.

An insider told the Global Times on the sidelines of the conference that it’s unclear whether Huawei’s own computing architecture and proprietary HarmonyOS could support its devices and meet consumer expectations.

“The company is doing OK, but it still has holes to be fixed in the face of unclear prospects,” the insider said.
Newspaper headline: Huawei launches ‘fastest’ AI cluster

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Huawei unveils flagship Mate 30 series, along with Watch GT 2 smartwatch and Vision TV


Design-wise, the Mate 30 Pro comes with anarrow notch, slim bezels and an edge-to-edge Horizon Display, whichcurves at an 88° angle, to maximise the screen real estate. — Photos:KHOR SOW YEE/The Star

Huawei has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro – along with a Mate 30 Pro Porsche variant and a Mate 30 Pro 5G model – at a launch event in Munich, Germany.

The Mate 30 range is powered by the new Kirin 990 SoC chipset. The 5G models, however, are powered by the Kirin 990 5G chipset – the first to integrate both processing units and a 5G modem on the same chip – making these devices the “world’s first second-generation 5G smartphones that support 4K video calls”, claims Huawei.

“The era of 5G is an opportunity to rethink the smartphone technology and the Huawei Mate 30 series is the ultimate expression of what’s possible,” said Huawei business group CEO Richard Yu.

Design-wise, the Mate 30 Pro comes with a narrow notch, slim bezels and an edge-to-edge Horizon Display, which curves at an 88° angle, to maximise the screen real estate.

It has also eliminated the side volume buttons and replaced them with virtual keys, allowing users to position them on either side of the phone – a handy feature for both left- and right-handed users.

The Mate 30 series sports a triple/quad camera system, with a ring design surrounded by a metallic “halo”.

Mate 30 Pro has a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera with wide-angle lens, a 40-megapixel camera with ultra-wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensing camera.

Mate 30 Pro has a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera with wide-angle lens, a 40-megapixel camera with ultra-wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensing camera.

For the Mate 30, this comprises a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera, a 16-megapixel camera with ultra wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens.

The smartphone also boasts optical image stabilisation (OIS), along with laser focus, which together are capable of 2.5cm macro photography and max ISO of 204800.

Meanwhile, its larger sibling the Mate 30 Pro comes with a 40-megapixel SuperSensing camera with wide-angle lens, a 40-megapixel camera with ultra-wide angle lens, an 8-megapixel camera with telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensing camera.

The SuperSensing camera features a dual main-camera system with a max video ISO rating of 51200 to capture videos at super slow-motion at up to 7,680fps (frames per second), as well as 4K ultra-wide angle low-light time-lapse video and real-time Bokeh.

The second of the dual-camera system promises brilliant results in low-light conditions with ISO 409600 light sensitivity.

Huawei says that the 8-megapixel camera on the phones offer 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom and up to 30x digital zoom.

The front-facing camera on the Mate 30 also comes with 3D depth sensing that is purportedly able to deliver pro-Bokeh effects with accurate depth-of-field info for selfies and portraits.

The front-facing camera on the Mate 30 also comes with 3D depth sensing that is purportedly able to deliver pro-Bokeh effects with accurate depth-of-field info for selfies and portraits.

The front-facing camera also comes with 3D depth sensing that is purportedly able to deliver pro-Bokeh effects with accurate depth-of-field info for selfies and portraits.

Other features include an always-on display with a lock screen that changes colour throughout the day, AI gesture control for contactless interaction, HiCar smart travel for seamless connectivity with a car’s on-board communication and entertainment systems, 3D face unlock and in-screen fingerprint sensor (Mate 30 Pro only).

Huawei has eliminated the side volume buttons and replaced them with virtual ones on the Mate 30 Pro (pic) and Mate 30.

Huawei has eliminated the side volume buttons and replaced them with virtual ones on the Mate 30 Pro (pic) and Mate 30.

The 6.62in Mate 30 has a 4,200mAh battery, while the 6.53in Mate 30 Pro has with a 4,500mAh battery. Both support fast wired and wireless charging, while the Mate 30 Pro provides upgraded reverse wireless charging for other compatible devices.

The Huawei Mate 30 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage will retail at €799 (RM3.700), while the Mate 30 Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage will go for €1,099 (RM5,100) for the non-5G version and €1,199 (RM5,550) for the 5G model.

The phones will be available in Emerald Green, Space Silver, Cosmic Purple, and Black, while the Forest Green and Orange will be available in vegan leather.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 30 RS, a variant of the Pro, has 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, and will be available in red or black with leather finishing on the back and will retail at €2,095 (RM9,700).

Local prices and availability have yet to be announced.

Besides the Mate series, Huawei also announced the Watch GT 2, which is powered by the Kirin A1 chip and boasts a claimed battery life of 14 days per charge.

It will also come with new functions such as 15 smart workout modes with 10 training modes just for running, an enhanced music player, and the ability to answer voice calls on the watch via Bluetooth.

The Huawei Watch GT 2 smartwatch will come in two sizes; a 42mm version with a 1.2in Amoled display and a 46mm version with a 1.39in Amoled display, and will be available in October for €229 (RM1,050) and €249 (RM1,150), respectively.

Huawei also announced the availability of its FreeBuds 3 wireless Bluetooth earphones which feature active noise cancellation and ultra-low audio latency.

The black and white versions of FreeBuds 3 will be available in China, Europe, Middle East, Russia, Asia Pacific and Latin America from November at €179 (RM850).

One more device that was revealed was a TV dubbed Huawei Vision, with a 4K quantum dot screen (55in, 65in, 75in) and refresh rate of up to 120Hz, as well as “perceptive AI-eye” function with AI video call, face recognition and tracking features, and control centre for smart home devices. However, no pricing or availability was announced.

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Jack Ma Ends 20-Year Reign Over Alibaba Wealth Creation Empire


Stepping down as chairman: Jack Ma waving while standing for a photograph with Alibaba CEO Jonathan Lu (left) and co-founder and vice-chairman Joseph ‘Joe’ Tsai in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Ma is giving up the reins of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd after presiding over one of the most spectacular creations of wealth the world has ever seen. — Bloomberg

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AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order; Singapore tries its own path in clash


THE NEW YORK TIMES , USA TODAY , AND  WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most
respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.  

In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that  because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than
many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, Lee urges the US and China to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come with significant technological power. Most experts already say that AI will have a devastating impact on blue-collar jobs. But Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a strong impact on white-collar jobs as well. Is universal basic income the solution? In Lee’s opinion, probably not.  But he provides  a clear description of which jobs will be affected and how soon, which
jobs can be enhanced with AI, and most importantly, how we can provide solutions to some of the most profound changes in human history that are coming soon. 

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Singapore tries to find its own path in clash of AI superpowers …

 

SINGAPORE (Sept 4): The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is chilling global collaboration that has long driven breakthroughs in technology and science. The tiny island nation of Singapore is trying to carve out an independent role in the clash and demonstrate the advantages of cooperation in fields like artificial intelligence.It’s a difficult balancing act. The country, with cordial ties to the two superpowers, is fighting against nationalistic forces on both sides. Artificial intelligence is becoming something of a test case for how independent countries will participate in emerging technologies.

China and the U.S. have dominated AI development, raising concerns that other  countries will lose out on its benefits and have no voice in devising regulations. Yet Singapore’s government is investing S$500 million (US$360 million) on AI and other digital technologies through 2020 and has attracted Chinese and American companies to the country with policies that support AI research. Singapore’s Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran jumped into the debate this year, proposing a  framework for the ethical use of AI at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Singapore has an important role to play,” said Lawrence Loh, an associate professor at NUS Business School. “We will never be able to match the technological prowess of the U.S. and China, but there are certain areas where Singapore can take leadership, like using its position to get people to work together.”

Iswaran will elaborate on Singapore’s vision at Bloomberg’s “Sooner Than You Think” technology conference on Thursday. He will kick off an event that will feature speakers from Microsoft Corp, International Business Machines Corp, Temasek Holdings Pte, China AI pioneer SenseTime Group Ltd, as well as Southeast Asia’s leading tech startups Grab Holdings Inc and Gojek.

Singapore has long positioned itself as neutral ground. It’s already home to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Singapore International Commercial Court, forums for international dispute resolution. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his annual policy speech last month that Singapore will maintain its neutral position and not take sides between the U.S. and China.

The affluent city-state of 5.6 million is not leaving anything to chance, when it comes to future-proofing its economy.

It has set up a dedicated inter-agency task force to study all aspects of AI. And in recent weeks, it granted an AI patent to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd within just three months — a record pace that underlines the country’s determination to move full speed ahead.

“Singapore plays a pivotal role as it facilitates our entry into markets of our interest rapidly,” Benjamin Bai, vice president and chief IP counsel of Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial, said in a statement released by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.

Still, there is skepticism about the country’s prospects. Singapore, like several other countries, is making a genuine push to develop its AI ecosystem, but its effort is tiny compared with the giants, said Kai-Fu Lee, founder of the venture firm Sinovation Ventures.

“Unless Singapore can unify ASEAN and become the undisputed AI leader and supplier in ASEAN countries, its efforts will not lead to a fraction of the U.S. or China,” Lee said in an email.

The government has been stepping up efforts to lure companies working in AI.

Alibaba has opened its first joint research institute outside China in Singapore in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University, while Salesforce.com Inc opened its first AI research centre outside of its research and development hub of Palo Alto, California — adding to a growing list of new research centers including the Singapore Management University’s Centre for AI and Data Governance.

GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested in Canadian AI companies, including Montreal-based Element AI Inc, which has set up an office in the city-state after raising US$102 million in new funding in 2017.

“It’s very hard to see how things will pan out with the trade war,” NUS Business School’s Loh said. “Singapore’s focus should be technology, not geopolitics.”

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Huawei’s story shows that research and development is crucial to developing new technology. As China takes the fast lane of technological development, we would like to see more Chinese high-tech enterprises follow the footsteps of Huawei to create more technology and tangible results, which will benefit not only China but also the whole world.

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Design engineers at fault in landslide tragedy, act against negligent engineers


Design engineers at fault in landslide tragedy | The Star Online
https://rightways.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/8723e-penang2blandslide_tanjung2bbungah1.jpg

GEORGE TOWN: The State Commission of Inquiry (SCI) tasked with investigating the Tanjung Bungah landslide in October 2017 has found the design engineer of the slope primarily responsible for the incident that claimed 11 lives.

The SCI, in its 116-page report made public, has recommended that the engineer be investigated by the police under Section 304A of the Penal Code for gross negligence.

Besides the engineer, the commission found another design engineer responsible for being “contributorily negligent” for allowing excavation to be carried out without design, engineering calculations and supervision.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the commission found that the slope failure was a man-made tragedy and entirely preventable if those in charge had taken necessary and proper steps to ensure the stability of the slope and the safety of the workers.

“The landslide did not develop overnight, it was a disaster waiting to happen over a period of time.

“There were ample warnings which were sadly unheeded or inadequately heeded,” Chow said of the report at a press conference at his office in Komtar here yesterday.

Chow said the report, dated July 22 this year, was a result of public hearings conducted over 26 days with testimonies from 28 witnesses.

“The commission also considered voluminous documents, reports, photographs and drawings, as well as the opinions of six expert witnesses.

“The report provides further analysis of the background facts, excerpts of testimonies recorded during the hearings and findings on liability against several parties,” he said.

The commission also found the Occupational Safety and Health Department negligent for failing to take adequate steps to ascertain the extent of the danger posed by the unsafe slope, by not promptly issuing a prohibition notice after its visit to the site on Aug 18, 2017, which was two months before the fatal incident.

Chow said copies of the report would be sent to the police, Attorney General’s Chambers, Board of Engineers Malaysia and other authorities involved.

“The report also contains nine recommendations that the commission hopes will serve as guidelines and prevent such incidents from recurring,” he added.

On Oct 21, 2017, a temporary slope in the construction site of a high-rise apartment block in Tanjung Bungah collapsed while workers were trying to stabilise it. Tonnes of earth crumbled, killing 11 workers.

The full SCI report can be bought at Level Three, Komtar, for RM50 per copy between Sept 3 and 30. For more details, call 04-650 5480.- Source link

Chow: Agencies have to act against negligent engineers

Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow

GEORGE TOWN: It is up to the relevant agencies to take action against the consultant engineers who were found negligent, resulting in the Tanjung Bungah landslide tragedy, says Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

“It is up to the agencies and the police to take action as recommended by the State Commission of Inquiry (SCI).

“I have also directed the Town and Country Planning Department, Penang Island City Council, Seberang Prai Municipal Council and other related agencies to come up with recommendations to improve hill development.

“It was discussed at the State Planning Committee meeting and I have directed state housing, town and country planning and local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo to head the committee and come up with the recommendations within a month, ” said Chow at Komtar here yesterday.

It was reported that the SCI tasked with investigating the Tanjung Bungah landslide in October 2017 had found the design engineer of the slope primarily responsible for the incident that claimed 11 lives.

The SCI, in its 116-page report made public, had recommended that the engineer be investigated by the police under Section 304A of the Penal Code for gross negligence.

Besides the engineer, the commission found another design engineer responsible for being “contributorily negligent” for allowing excavation to be carried out without design, engineering calculations and supervision.

Penang Island City Council engineering director A. Rajendran, who was also present at the press conference, said the stop-work order on the project was lifted after the developer completed mitigation works.“However, different engineers have been overseeing the project since work resumed some time ago, ” said Rajendran.

On Oct 21,2017, a temporary slope at the construction site of a high-rise apartment block in Tanjung Bungah collapsed while workers were trying to stabilise it.

Tonnes of earth crumbled, killing 11 workers. – Source link

Read  more:

 

Tanjung Bungah landslide incident entirely preventable, concludes …

Act against engineers for negligence, urges Tanjung Bungah …

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Penang commission moots criminal charges against consultant …

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Landslide tragedy caused by slope instability, was a Construction mishap, not landslide!


Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah.

Construction mishap, not landslide

GEORGETOWN: The incident that claimed four lives at a beach resort in Tanjung Bungah was a construction mishap, said Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Yew Tung Seang (pic)

He said that the slope was unstable due to digging activities as the resort’s owner was building a retaining wall without informing the authorities.

“It’s not a landslide. The incident occurred after the retaining wall collapsed within the resort’s premises.

“We need to be informed of any construction activity and make sure that it is done under the supervision of engineers.

“We are monitoring the situation closely before making a decision on whether to stop the resort’s operations,” he said at a press conference after the launching of the Karpal Singh Digital Hub at SK Sungai Gelugor yesterday.

On Tuesday, four foreign workers were buried alive in a freak accident at the construction site in Tanjung Bungah.

It is learnt that the resort owner recently contracted a Myanmar worker to build a retaining wall after finding that the hill separating the resort and Jalan Batu Ferringhi showed signs of erosion.

The contractor hired three other Myanmar nationals to assist him.

Checks found that the retaining wall, which was supposed to be about 5m wide, had yet to be built but there were other retaining walls beside it.

State local government commit­tee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said mitigation works along the 50m stretch of Jalan Batu Ferringhi would be completed in three to four weeks’ time.

“Although the incident happened on private land, it has affected the federal road where many heavy vehicles pass by every day.

“It is important to stabilise the road to ensure the safety of road users,” he said.

Meanwhile, Citizens Awareness Chant Group adviser Yan Lee called on the MBPP to reveal its standard operating procedures for investigating illegal earthworks done in the state.

“I hope that the council can share with us how many officers or workers are available to check on such earthworks,” he said.

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GEORGE TOWN: Soil movement due to slope instability is said to be the cause of the freak landslide that claimed four lives at a beach resort in Batu Ferringhi, says Penang Public Works Department (PWD) director Shahabuddin Mohd Muhayidin.

He said preliminary investi­gations showed that the slope was unstable as a result of digging by a third party.

“The digging at the slope caused soil movement with a whole lot of earth coming loose.

“Right now, we are taking the necessary steps to stop further soil erosion at the slope.

“After this, we will install sheet piles to stabilise the slope,” he told reporters at a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

Following the landslide, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had ordered PWD to conduct a thorough study of Jalan Batu Ferringhi to check on conditions of the road and slopes along the 15km stretch.

“If the study finds any of the slopes or roads unsafe, repair works will be carried out following recommendations from the study.

“For now, a 50m-stretch of the road leading to Teluk Bahang has been closed for mitigation work and to ensure the safety of road users.

“The mitigation work is expected to be complete within three to four weeks, and in the meantime, a flagman will be assigned at the road stretch to direct the one-way traffic,” said Chow at the press conference.

He said the state had no information on the status of the Myanmar workers who died in the incident.

“Relevant authorities will need to investigate the landowner and project owner so that appropriate action can be taken.

Chow said they have called on the police and government agencies like the Department of Occupational Safety and Health to investigate the and take action against those responsible.

“From monitoring at the site, we believe the works to build the retaining wall were carried out without professional help.

“It was just action taken by the landowner who wanted to fix a condition on the site. And, due to the way the work was carried out, it caused soil movement and eventually the soil collapsed.”

He said PWD and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) would continue monitoring the issue.

“In this incident, the landowner should be responsible as he or she is responsible for monitoring the land.

“Although the landowner tried to take the initiative to build the wall, professional help should have been sought to ensure safer and more secure work.”

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council would serve notices to the landowner and other parties concerned under Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.

“MBPP is investigating, and will take appropriate action against the parties involved.

“Although we have a team monitoring illegal construction, the construction work on this particular site was not visible to public view.”

Yew advised landowners to apply for permits before embarking on any construction work in future.

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Experts: Human error could have led to landslide

GEORGE TOWN: A landslide which occurred even when there was no rain to trigger it might have been due to many reasons, including human error, says an expert.

Universiti Sains Malaysia geotechnical engineering professor Prof Dr Fauziah Ahmad said the workers may have dug at the toe of the slope while trying to build a retaining wall.

“During the digging process, pressure might have been released from the top of the wall, which could already have had cracks.

Prof Fauziah said traffic vibrations could also trigger pressure and cracks on the wall.

“Once there are cracks, water will seep through over a period of time, and when it reaches the instability between backfill and the wall, the slope will collapse,” she added.

Prof Fauziah was asked to comment on the incident on Tuesday where four foreign workers were buried alive in a landslide at a construction site in Batu Ferringhi.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Centre of Tropical Geoengineering director Prof Dr Edy Tonnizam Mohamad said the stability of a slope, among others, depends on its soil properties, slope geometry, volume, effect of gravity and also the pore water pressure.

“A slope could fail if one or a combination of factors passed its equilibrium and factor of safety.

“If the geometry of a slope is not properly designed according to geologic, engineering and climatic factors, a slope failure could occur.

“There have been several cases of landslides even when there was no rain,” he said.

Prof Edy added that to prevent such incidents, monitoring and inspection before and during construction is important.

“Professional supervision is also needed at the construction site.

“During construction, the standard operating procedure should be made clear.

“The construction site should be managed properly and safety procedures adhered to,” he said.

‘Owner built walls on his own’

Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah. — MUSTAFA AHMAD & ANDY LO/The Star
Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah. — MUSTAFA AHMAD & ANDY LO/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The owner of a resort along Jalan Batu Ferringhi may have been building walls on his own to prevent soil erosion for some time before a landslide struck, killing four foreign workers.

Penang Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said there were signs of such efforts but the authori­ties had never been informed.

“It appears to me like he had been doing it on his own, without informing the authorities,” he said.

Attempts to contact the resort owner for comments were futile as of press time.

On Tuesday, four foreign workers were buried alive in a freak landslide at a construction site in Batu Ferringhi at 9.21pm.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang said all four bodies had been recovered.

He added that three of the victims were discovered in a standing position while holding the metal poles for the retention wall while the other was leaning over.

He said the victims did not have any identification papers.

It is learnt that the resort owner had recently contracted a Myanmar worker called Ong to build a retaining wall after finding that the hill separating the resort and Jalan Batu Ferringhi showed signs of erosion.Ong then hired three other Myanmar nationals, to assist him.Checks found that the retaining wall, which was to be about five metres wide, had yet to be built but there were other retaining walls beside it.

The exposed slope has been covered with tarpaulin sheets to prevent further erosion.

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