During the wee hours of Friday (16 December) morning, Malaysians woke up to a shocking news of a massive landslide occurring in Batang Kali near Genting Highlands.
According to the latest report, a total of 94 victims were buried underneath rubble at the Father’s Organic Farm campsite. At least 21 campers have lost their lives, while 12 others are still missing.
While the rescue efforts are still ongoing, the investigation by the local government and development ministry found that the place has been operating without a license since 2020.
According to New Straits Times, Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming said the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council only granted permission for the operators to operate as an organic farm.
“No application for the campsite was made. Upon checking, we found that the campsite was operating without a licence,” he was quoted as saying.
“If found guilty by the court, there will be a penalty of not more than RM50,000 and imprisonment of not more than three years under Act 133 (The Street, Drainage, and Buildings Act 1974).”
High-risk campsite nationwide to vacate immediately
Following the crisis, Nga instructed all 155 local councils nationwide to check and vacate all campsites along and around high-risk areas, including waterfalls, near riverbanks and hillslopes for seven days effective immediately.
He said this directive will remain until further notice.
“This is following the forecast of continuous heavy rain for five days due to the Northeast Monsoon, which is expected to start tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nga said operators who wanted to organise camping activities in risky areas should seek advice from the Minerals and Geoscience Department.
With regards to the search-and-rescue (SAR) operation, Nga said the rescue team entered the site at the earliest possible moment after they received information on the incident.
“We have deployed 628 men from 27 agencies. Of these, 210 are from the Fire and Rescue Department and 231 from the SAR team.”
“Up to 1pm today, there are 94 victims of this landslide incident, 61 of whom are safe, 16 dead and 17 still missing,” he said.