The remains of 44-year-old hawker Lim Chin Aik is believed to be buried in the ground when the lightning arrester from atop the 21-storey Menara Umno snapped during a storm and crashed into his car.
Thursday September 12, 2013 MYT 7:19:34 AM
Sinkhole opens up near site of lightning arrester collapse
GEORGE TOWN: Traffic along Macalister Road here slowed down to a snail’s pace after a sinkhole appeared on the road, near the site of the lightning arrester collapse which killed a motorist in June.
The hole, measuring about 0.6m in diameter and 1m deep, is located in the middle of the road in front of the Pakistani Mosque.
Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng said a preliminary probe by the Penang Municipal Council’s engineering department showed that a leaking sewerage pipe about 3m away had caused soil erosion beneath the road, resulting in the cave-in at about 1.15pm yesterday.
He said the section of the road had been cordoned off and an iron plate would be placed over the sinkhole for the time being.
On Aug 14, a forklift fell into a hole when the road in front of the Pakistani Mosque caved in during work to repair damage caused by the lightning arrester collapse.
The Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) has issued a stern warning to the certifiers – architect and engineer – of Menara Umno to submit their report on what caused of part their structure to fall during a violent storm which hit Penang on June 13, killing two.
MPPP building director Yew Tung Seang said there are still concerns from the public about a structure from the roof top and the building owner, JKP Sdn Bhd, has been given two weeks, till July 8, to submit its report on the matter.
Yew said JKP has also been told to submit an independent report, which they have appointed the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) to produce, on the structure failures by July 23.
MPPP had issued a notice under Section 82 of the Local Government Act 1976 to JKP a day after the incident, Yew said, to get rid of the continuing “safety nuisance” (kacauganggu) and to restore the building immediately.
“Immediate action has to be taken, especially on the reinforced concrete beams and a piece of iron which appears to be in a dangerous position on the rooftop,’ he added, at a press conference today.
Former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim has laughed off suggestions by the Penang Umno chief that the PKR de facto leader was somehow responsible for the state Umno building mishap last week.
When asked on the allegation by Zainal Abidin Osman today, Anwar made light of the matter, joking that “as always, they put the blame on me”.
“Blame me for the destruction of the building. Even if there is election in Umno, it is also Anwar’s fault.”
Zainal Abidin had asserted that Anwar is the “most qualified” to answer questions regarding Menara Umno, as the latter was Penang Umno chief when a special commencement of work order was issued before building plans were submitted.
“He (Anwar) knows everything. We merely inherited this building and at that time, we did not have any positions,” Zainal Abidin was quoted to have said.
The Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) wants the owner of Menara Umno, JKP Sdn Bhd, to explain the building’s design philosophy, saying that the 30-metre structure that fell off is an “extraordinary design”.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today MPPP would appoint its own independent engineer to examine the matter if JKP does not submit the report.
The MPPP, Lim said, had issued a seven-day notice to JKP, under Section 82 of the Local Government Act 1976, to repair the building, clean up debris caused by the collapse and clear structural remains that could put buildings along Jalan Macalister and users of the road at risk.
The notice also requires that the 25-metre hollow structure at the top of the building, covering the water tank, be investigated as MPPP has received complaints that it appeared to be tilting.
“There is a concrete bar and steel piece in a dangerous position that must be removed immediately,” Lim told a press conference.
“MPPP has also requested the building owner to submit a safety and stability report within seven days of the letter being issued,” he added.
“The letter was issued yesterday, and was also sent to the building’s architect and consultant engineer.
“We need them to explain what happened and to verify the building’s structural integrity on the design, construction and maintenance aspects.”
The fallen structure killed two people and the body of the second person, hawker Lim Chin Aik who was trapped under, was not found in the crater debris from his car was found in, after the strong gale that hit Penang on June 6.
BLOGGER: DR MAHATHIR, IN THOSE YEARS THE PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENT OF UMNO, IS THE BEST PERSON TO ASK, NOT ANWAR.
Penang Umno chief Zainal Abidin Osman said PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim would be the best person to answer questions regarding Menara Umno, which had been issued special commencement of work before the building plan was submitted.
“He is most qualified to answer that question as he was the deputy prime minister and Penang Umno chief at that point of time,” said Zainal, when asked at a press conference today.
Yesterday, Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik claimed that the local council had – on Dec 23, 1995 – issued the building contractor a special permit to commence work, two years before the first building plan was submitted on July 31, 1997. A modified plan was later sent out on July 24, 1998.
He quoted a letter issued by then Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon to executive councillor Dr Teng Hock Nan to ask why there had been a delay in completing the project, as he had to report the matter to Anwar.Ng, who is also Penang DAP Socialist Youth secretary, had accused the Gerakan-led government of “succumbing” to Umno’s demands.
‘Succumbing’ to Umno’s demands
However, Zainal said that Penang Umno has merely been renting the building as the original owner had been the South-East Asia Development Corporation, followed by Amanah Capital, which later bought the building in 1995.
In 2005, JKP Sdn Bhd bought the building, and Zainal Osman – then the chairperson – resigned his position in April this year, as he was contesting the 13th general election.
Zainal said the certificate of fitness was issued on July 27, 1998. Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamed opened the building on Aug 11 that year.
Zainal noted that the architect had won a prestigious Australian award for the design of the building in 1998.
Furthermore, he said, the architect had called in a wind consultant to ensure that the building and its structures could withstand strong winds.
“We feel lucky that we have managed to contact the original architect, who will be preparing a report on the building,” said Zainal.
“We urge all quarters not to politicise the issue but to wait for the official report, so that further action can be taken. We hope people will be patient until then.”
Asked to comment on the building audit requested by the Penang Municipal Council since 2011 which has not been submitted by the building management, Zainal responded that the matter is being looked into.
“We are also asking the same question; we are checking the records. If there is any negligence by any quarters, they must take responsibility. We are conducting an internal inquiry and we will take the necessary actions,” he said.
Man-made disasters: The Penang Umno HQ
Written by Lim Sue Goan
The collapse of a 20-metre lighting arrester pole from the Umno building in Jalan Macalister during a storm and caused casualties is the best example of fallen misfortune.
It is a man-made disaster, instead of a natural disaster or accident. Which unit is actually responsible for approving such kind of additional structures on high-rise buildings? Did they ensure that the additional structure is able to withstand external forces, including strong wind? Did the authorities and building owner make regular inspection to ensure safety?
If additional structures on high-rise buildings are unable to withstand jolts and external forces, they can turn into fatal weapons at any time. Whoever hit by the additional structure falling from high-rise buildings would not have a chance to survive.
According to Datuk Adzmi Ariffin, the chief executive officer of Umno building’s owner JKP Sdn Bhd, the fallen conductor pole was specifically designed to house a lightning arrester.
In other words, the lightning arrester could actually be installed directly on the roof of the building, but a conductor pole was built instead as a decoration to the building.
Work Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof was not sure whether the lightning arrester facility on the building was approved.
The general understanding is, buildings are under the responsibility of local governments and local governments can issue an occupation permit only after various units have inspected the buildings, including fire-fighting equipment. However, do local governments have enough professionals and knowledge to inspect additional structures on high-rise buildings?
The collapse of the lightning arrester from the Umno building in Penang has revealed a potential crisis, namely tall building’s regulatory oversight. Are building owners required to summit a safety annual report to the authority? Do the authority carry out periodic inspections? If these aspects are neglected, or not carried out by experts, the federal government should then find a way to correct the weaknesses.
Not only the lightning arrester of the Penang Umno building, but many other high-rise buildings in other states might also be decorated with additional structures. If no immediate inspection work is carried out, who can guarantee that similar incident would not take place during storms?
In fact, there are already so many man-made disasters due to loose regulation. Such as the collapse of the an uncompleted flyover connecting to the still-under-construction second Penang bridge at Batu Maung has caused the death of a motorist. There would not be scaffolding supporting failure if it was closely supervised.
Malaysia is a paradise without natural disaster. However, due to regulatory weaknesses, the country has been filled with man-made disasters and tragedy will keep repeating if no action is taken against those who should bear the responsibility, no reflection is carried out and no correction is made. Is it really our unalterable fate?
- Sin Chew Da
Dr Teng Hock Nam, state executive councillor at that time, stressed that, since the building was constructed almost 18 years ago, there was no point asking him now if it was properly built or not
Tanjung MP Ng Wei Aik has asked the previous Gerakan-led Penang government why it had allowed Menara Umno to be built before the building plan was submitted or approved.
“How can the state succumb to Umno and allow work to commence even before the building plan is submitted?” Ng asked at a press conference today.
A lightning rod located at the top of the building, located in Jalan Macalister, toppled over and killed two men on the street during a violent gale that hit Penang last Thursday.
Ng said the local council had – on Dec 23, 1995 – issued the building contractor a special permit to commence work, two years before the first building plan was submitted on July 31, 1997. A modified plan was sent out on July 24, 1998.
On Oct 1, 1996, then Deputy Chief Minister Shariff Omar had visited the building, “endorsing” its construction even though a building plan had yet to be submitted, Ng noted.
“After that, Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon issued a letter to state executive councillor Dr Teng Hock Nam to ask why there was a delay in completing the project.
“In the letter, Koh said he needed to report the matter to deputy prime minister and Penang Umno chief Anwar Ibrahim.”
When contacted, Teng said the incident was “a technical problem which happened during a natural disaster”.
He said that, at the time of construction, the architect and engineers could not have foreseen that it would fall.
“There are many other buildings with structures too, but as long as the architect is responsible and willing to pay the fine if they do not comply with the guidelines, procedures and building plan, it is acceptable,” he noted.
“We had strict and transparent guidelines and procedures during that time.”
MP told not to ‘play politics’
Teng, who is state Gerakan chairperson, said the architect came from an internationally renowned and prize-winning company that is popular for its international designs.
“What is Ng trying to achieve by asking this question? Let us be very frank, the 13th general election is over, don’t play politics,” Teng said.
“What is more important is for the current government to ensure that this does not happen again in future.”
Owner of Umno building failed to submit safety audit report
GEORGE TOWN (June 16, 2013): The owner of the Umno building had failed to submit its safety audit report to the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) in 2011.
Tanjung MP Ng Wei Aik said that based on the Council’s records, JKP Sdn Bhd did not submit the safety audit report as required under Section 85A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.
“The report is supposed to be submitted every 10 years, and they had failed to do so two years ago,” he said, adding that the report needs to be done by a certified professional engineer to verify the safety level of a building.
Ng said that failure to do so, in light of the incident in which a giant pole fell off the Umno building in Jalan Macalister, could be viewed as human negligence instead of a natural disaster.
Speaking to reporters at the scene today, he said that the Council could take civil action against the owner – as the section carries a fine of up to RM100,000, a jail term of five years, or both, upon conviction.
Thursday’s incident claimed one life, and could possibly be the cause of another, as the wreckage of a car was found beneath the structure.
Search and rescue personnel are in the midst of excavating the wreckage. No bodies have been found yet.
Penang UMNO building collapse. Antenna breaks by strong wind.
Penang Disaster! Wind Blows UMNO Building Roof Collapse / Break Off
Published: Friday June 14, 2013 MYT 8:15:00 PM
Updated: Friday June 14, 2013 MYT 11:03:39 PM
Penang freak storm: Work starts on removing “hanging beam”
By CAVINA LIM
GEORGE TOWN: A crane is being used to remove a concrete beam that is hanging precariously at the Umno building in Macalister Road here.
The beam fell on top of the 21-storey state Umno headquarters during Thursday’s thunderstorm which blew a section of a lightning arrestor and crashing onto the road.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Friday that a giant crane would be used to remove the 20-foot concrete beam and work could only start tomorrow.
He said the crane only arrived at the scene at 7pm and by the time it is assembled and ready to work it would be late night.
“It takes about at least three hours to set up the whole crane,” he said when met at the scene in Macalister Road.
However, the authorities said work to remove the beam would be carried out throughout the night.
ACCORDING TO THE SOURCE BELOW, THE UMNO BUILDING IS TILTING! IS IT FACT OR RUMOUR?
WHILE PHOTOS DON’T LIE, HOW YOU TAKE A PHOTO INFLUENCES THE RESULT. IF THE CAMERA WAS TILTED, THEN YOU GET A TILTED BUILDING.
ANYWAY, JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.
Emergency, quickly share out!!! UMNO building is tilted about 15 degrees, shocking, urged people not to close to the disaster area in order to avoid unfortunate events happen! (Translated by Bing)
UMNO HQ LOSES LIGHTNING ROD, NOT ANTENNA.
The massive gale which started around 6.55pm tore off the lightning rod of the state Umno building in Jalan Macalister.
Earlier reports had referred to the lightning rod as an aerial, but the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission later clarified that it was a lightning rod.
The 20-metre lighting arrestor atop the Umno building in Jalan Macalister collapsed, leaving one person dead and eight others injured.
Jahir Hussain Sulaiman, 46, the driver of a pick up truck who was seriously injured in the incident later died at the Penang Hospital.
His nephew Azharudeen Mohd Mohideen, 18, told reporters at the hospital’s mortuary at 11.30pm that his uncle had died.
The lighting arrestor had collapsed on his vehicle and six other vehicles that were parked below. The rest of the victims only sustained minor injuries.
Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi said the storm caused the the 20-metre lighting arrestor atop the Umno building in Jalan Macalister to collapse at around 6.45pm and damaged seven vehicles including the pick up truck.
He said the driver of the pick up truck had been seriously injured.
Penang PAS wants Umno to compensate the people injured and owners of vehicles that were damaged in the massive storm that hit George Town yesterday and caused a huge lightning rod to fall off the top of the Penang Umno headquarters on Jalan Macalister.
Earlier reports had referred to the lightning road as an aerial, but the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission later clarified that it was a lightning rod.
The incident caused the death of one person, injured five others, with the strong winds wrecking havoc in the other parts of Penang as well. Another person died in Air Itam, after being hit by a falling tree.
State PAS Youth secretary Afnan Taib Azimudden (right) said Umno leaders should not just be praying that no one was injured.
Afnan was referring to a Malaysiakini report last night quoting state Umno Youth chief Shaik Hussein Mydin as expressing sympathy to those affected by the incident.
Salah taip yg betul lentur ibupej umno yg sebelum ini tegak-Menara Ibupej UMNO Pg yg luntur skrg akibat ribut kencang pic.twitter.com/1Jzu4zh46b
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The Penang government would be giving financial assistance to the victims of the storm which wreaked havoc in several parts of the island and mainland, causing two deaths and several injured last night.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said his administration was assessing the situation and would also give aid to those whose rooftops were blown away by the strong winds.
“We feel regret and express our deepest sympathies to those affected and hope they or their families can be patient while we sort things out,” Lim said at a press conference along Jalan Macalister.
“For those whose rooftops have been blown away, we urge them to lodge a police report. Our welfare department is also assessing the situation,” he added.
The Penang Umno headquarters was damaged by strong winds, breaking the antenna from the 23-storey building.
According to Bernama, seven pedestrians were injured. Two of whom suffered serious injuries. Seven vehicles were also damaged.
The Lebuh Pantai fire station said that the incident happened at 6.55pm.
The rubble had caused massive damage to Jalan Macalister, located in the heart of Georgetown.
In a press release, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng urged Penang Umno officials to swiftly provide rescue workers access to the roof to prevent more debris from falling off the roof.
“About seven cars have been damaged and we hope there are no more casualties,” he said.
When contacted, Penang State Umno Youth chief Shaik Hussein Mydin said he received word that the lighting rod of the building has collapsed.
“It’s an accident, a natural disaster. We hope no one is hurt, ” he said.
Struktur bangunan yg runtuh pic.twitter.com/wkZOr3J3QN
Struktur bangunan umno runtuh..macalister road penang.. pic.twitter.com/XBrWSLylut
Struktur bangunan umno runtuh.. pic.twitter.com/61Junfal5j
Struktur bangunan umno runtuh.. pic.twitter.com/Tcyq6iFTeX
Published: Thursday June 13, 2013 MYT 8:19:00 PM
Updated: Thursday June 13, 2013 MYT 11:11:19 PM
Storm blows antenna tower off roof top, causes gridlock on major roads in Penang (Updated)
By CAVINA LIM
GEORGE TOWN: A thunderstorm blew havoc in Penang uprooting trees and causing gridlock on major roads here on Thursday.
The strong winds, which started at 7pm, blew off a 40m section of a pole located on top of the 21-storey Menara Umno in Macalister Road.
Trees were also uprooted in several places, falling on parked cars.
In Tanjong Tokong, roof awnings was seen flying off from houses.
Five people including two seriously injured were sent to the hospital.
Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said a man, who was walking up the Air Itam Dam during the storm, died after suffering a heart attack when a falling tree narrowly missed him.
The Meteorological Department said the storm lasted for about one hour from 7pm.
Freak storm wreaks havoc, injures several motorists
GEORGE TOWN, June 13 — Heavy rain and strong winds blew off a lightning arrester from the Umno building in Macalister Road here, sending it crashing down onto several vehicles on the busy main road below.
The storm started at about 7pm, the lightning arrester was blown off, taking along a chunk of concrete from the building where it crashed onto the street below, damaging about 11 vehicles and injuring several motorists.
Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, who visited the site at about 8pm after the mishap, expressed his concern and confirmed that one person was critically injured in the incident.