Tanjung Bungah death toll may be higher than 11

Search and Rescue (SAR) operations at the Lengkok Lembah Permai construction site in Tanjung Bungah have come to a stop. The media quoted Fire and Rescue Department Director Saadon Moktar as saying all 11 bodies have been accounted for. Question is, did Moktar get the figure correct? Are there illegal Bangladeshi workers still buried at the site?


Yesterday, I made my way to Lengkok Lembah Permai in Penang where a killer landslide claimed 11 or so lives. I was there to meet the state rep for Tanjung Bungah, Teh Yee Cheu, who agreed to issue an honest assessment of the whole incident for the public to consider (WATCH HERE). To me, there is no better way of getting a clear picture than listening to a man with the right facts and figures speak.

At 6.45 pm, Teh descended from the hilltop adjacent to the disaster site and walked straight over to meet me. The two of us then proceeded towards a nearby hawker stall and discussed the tragedy over some coffee. As we spoke, it was brought to my attention that the number of people buried at the site could well be more than the reported 11.

Apparently, there were Bangladeshis who claimed that the number could be as high as 14, perhaps even 20. Putting two and two together, and assuming these Bangladeshis were telling the truth, I realised that the developer hired some illegal workers who may yet be unaccounted for. The irony is, media reports suggest that sniffer K9 dogs combed the whole area and did not indicate the presence of more bodies.

Anyway, the YB and I called it a day some 25 minutes later and parted ways. Feeling rather disturbed, I headed straight for another hawker unit to mull over stuff I had just heard. The one that played like a broken tape recorder in my conscience was the possibility that some Bangladeshis could still be buried at the site as we speak.

Then, something extremely weird happened.

As I sat sipping my coffee, two very nervous looking Bangladeshis waked into the shop and headed right towards me. The duo asked if it was me they just saw at the construction site. When I said yes, they looked extremely tense and asked if they could speak to me. I gestured for them to sit and proceeded to order two more cups of coffee.

Following is the back and forth that took place between me and the Bangladeshis (who introduced themselves as Iqbal and Sadiq):