At least 3 people died and 20 people are feared to be trapped after a landslide struck a construction site in Tanjung Bungah in the Malaysian state of Penang on Saturday morning.
Penang Fire and Rescue Department Operation Centre spokesman said the incident took place at a construction site in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah.
According to the spokesman, the department received a call at about 8.57 am and the fire personnel reached the scene immediately. It is believed that nearly 15 to 20 victims were buried in the landlside.
"We found out between 15 to 20 victims may be buried in the land slope estimated to be 10 metres and we have started search and rescue efforts," the spokesman told Channel NewsAsia.
Meanwhile, reports added that two survivors were already extricated and taken to the Penang Hospital. The police and the Civil Defence Force are jointly conducting the search and rescue operation.
Maimunah Shariff, mayor of Penang Island City Council (MBPP) said that further investigations will be conducted to find out the exact cause behind the landslide. However, Shariff has ruled out rule out the possibility of rains being one of the causes cause behind the calamity as the island did not receive any rains, in the last few days.
Meenakshi Raman, Chairman of Tanjung Bungah Residents Association has requested the state government to look closely into the matter. She added that illegal hill development should be stopped immediately in order to take prevent such incidents in future. Raman has also demanded a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to investigate the cause of the landslide.
Mohd Awal Jafra Alma, one of the trapped victim's brother, rushed to the spot after being informed of the incident. The 21-year-old Awal too works at a nearby construction site.
Reports added that out of the 20 trapped workers, ne of them is believed to be a Malaysian resident while the others are foreigners.