Nga Kor Ming, the local government development minister, said today that the three campsites impacted by the deadly landslide in Batang Kali early this morning lacked the required permits.
During a site visit, Nga was reported as saying that the operators involved could face up to three years in jail and a maximum fine of RM50,000 (US$11,300).
He claimed that the campsites violated the Street, Drainage, and Building Act of 1974 because the operators only had approval for its organic farm business.
The minister also directed all 155 local governments across the country to immediately vacate all riverside campsites for seven days.
As of 1pm, 16 people have been pronounced dead and 17 are still missing due to a landslide that occurred early Friday morning at the Father’s Organic Farm campsite on Jalan Genting-Batang Kali. Search and rescue efforts are still underway.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has declared a blanket ban on all outdoor recreational activities in the Batang Kali area.
Saifuddin, who was at the site, told reporters the authorities would be checking if the campsites were operating legally.
“We will review this (registration status) later,” he said, adding that the priority now was to find the remaining victims.
He stated that the authorities were determining the number of people who were camping.
According to the campsite owners’ records, there were 94 of them, though this figure may be inaccurate. He said that there was a chance the figure would change.
“For example, in a family of five, perhaps only the wife registered her name on behalf of the others.”
Izham Hashim, chairman of Selangor’s infrastructure and agriculture committee, said a forensic investigation would be conducted to determine the cause of the landslide near Genting Highlands.
He said that there were no signs of a pending landslide because it had not rained heavily in the area for the previous two days.
“There were no warning (signs), no cracks or fallen trees,” he said, adding the slope had also been considered safe.