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(File pic) Tenaganita has hit out at the Bukit Kukus paired road project main contractor, which has disclaimed responsibility for the deaths of nine foreign workers in a deadly landslide last week. (NSTP/DANIAL SAAD)

GEORGE TOWN: Tenaganita has hit out at the Bukit Kukus paired road project main contractor, which has disclaimed responsibility for the deaths of nine foreign workers in a deadly landslide last week.

The non-governmental organisation’s director, Glorene A. Das, said Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd was irresponsible, callous and cruel.

Tenaganita promotes the rights of women, migrants and refugees.

She said the company should be held responsible for the foreign workers who had died at their worksite, regardless of whether the victims were employed by the company, or otherwise.

“The main contractors cannot disclaim responsibility for any violation that takes place on the worksite. They have the responsibility to ensure that the worksite is safe and secure for all workers, and outsiders who may be visiting the workers,” said Glorene today.

“Does Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd not know who these outsiders are, and what they are doing at their worksite? If indeed that is the case, could it perhaps be an indication of a general lackadaisical attitude on the part of the company, especially with regard to workers?”

Last Friday, a massive landslide occurred at the Bukit Kukus project site in Paya Terubong. Three people were pulled to safety and nine bodies were found.

The search and rescue operation was called off after five days.

Yuta Maju said the individuals who were rescued and those who had perished in the landslide were not its workers.

It said the cabins that were affected by the landslide were the former living quarters of workers employed in the project, and had been vacated and abandoned several weeks before the landslide.

The company said electricity supply to the cabins had been disconnected as of Oct 2 to ensure that they were not used by other people.

However, the company promised to provide assistance on a humanitarian basis.

The project is currently under a stop work order issued by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and Penang Island City Council.

DOSH, the Construction Industry Development Board, state police and a special committee set up by the state government are conducting separate investigations on the mishap.

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