Energy and Natural Resources Minister Takiyuddin Hassan stated that illegal house renovations contributed to the recent Jalan Kemensah Heights landslide
According to Bernama, the minister made the assertion while visiting the scene in Ampang Jaya, Selangor yesterday, 19 September.
Takiyuddin remarked that certain houses along the hillside suburb were renovated to accommodate large and growing families.
"But it had to be carried out in accordance with stipulated guidelines and procedures to avoid an incident like this," he was quoted as saying by the news agency.
The landslide area was earlier declared a disaster site
The incident, which occurred late at night on Friday, 17 September, left authorities scrambling at the scale of the tragedy, reported Berita Harian.
According to Bernama, the Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at 9.33pm on the day of the incident, and rushed to move out 28 families from a total of 19 homes.
Ampang Jaya district police chief ACP Mohamad Farouk Eshak said that a total of 103 residents were evacuated from their homes over fears of reoccurring landslides.
The subsidence led Selangor's State Disaster Management Authority to declare the affected area a disaster site, reported Bernama.
Underground water movement was also touted as a cause
Selangor Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Wan Md Razali said that this subterranean water flow had caused the soil structure beneath the affected houses to slide down.
The debris and associated building structures then fell into the adjacent Sungai Kemensah, blocking the river's flow, reported New Straits Times.
In response, Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said that all related works will cost an estimated RM10 million and is expected to be completed within a month.
However, restoration of the hillside will only begin in earnest once his ministry receives input from various other governmental agencies, reported Bernama.