Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi said today the government would consider paying compensation to the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide victims.
His remarks come as criticisms have mounted in the days since last week’s landslide which claimed five lives, destroyed homes and caused an evacuation of thousands of residents in the upscale neighbourhood near here.
Fingers are being pointed at state and federal authorities for allowing the country’s hill slopes to be over-developed with scant regard for safety regulations despite numerous incidents in the past.
“It is up to the government,” said Abdullah after chairing the Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting today when he was asked if any compensation would be paid.
The authorities have only just begun investigating the cause of the latest incident in Bukit Antarabangsa and findings are not expected for some time.
But Bukit Antarabangsa residents are already planning to sue the relevant authorities and claim compensation.
They said today they would be seeking legal advice and were confident of having strong evidence to pursue any claim against the government.
However, legal precedent may make such a claim difficult.
An earlier claim against the local authority by residents of nearby Highland Towers, where one block collapsed killing dozens of people 15 years ago, failed on grounds of public policy.
The prime minister said today that the BN supreme council fully supported any decision to halt development on hill slopes and hoped that state governments would take the same measures.
“We are sorry about what happened in Bukit Antarabangsa. Some have lost their family members, some have lost their homes,” said Abdullah.