Camerons residents live in fear

CAMERON HIGHLANDS - Scores of residents and business operators in Jalan Sultan Abu Bakar and its surrounding areas in Brinchang here are living in fear that they may be hit by another landslide anytime.

This follows a landslide that hit their neighbourhood on Sunday, which left two people injured. The landslide also damaged a car workshop, two houses and about 10 vehicles.

Checks by the New Straits Times yesterday showed houses and business premises, numbering more than 100, were located just metres away from a hill slope.

The NST also learned that agricultural activities were taking place on top of the hill.

Mohd Norsofwa Abdul Wahab, 42, the owner of the damaged workshop, said he feared for the safety of his family after Sunday's incident.

"I don't know when the earth on the slope will give way again," he said, pointing to the direction of the hill slope, which is a stone's throw away from his workshop. I am concerned about the safety of my younger brother, Mohd Norfaizuddin, 26, who is deaf and mute.

"I dread to imagine what would have happened to him if I was not around on Saturday. I hope the authorities will do something about it."

A witness to Sunday's landslide, Gunawan Hasanuddin, 21, said everything happened in seconds.

"It was raining heavily one instance, and the next, the earth came crashing down with rainwater. Mud and water gushed into the workshop.

"Luckily for me, I managed to escape," he said, adding that two of his friends -- Adius Munir, 47, and Abdul Yazid Abdul Aziz, 28 -- were injured when a metal structure fell on them.

Dishwasher Mayati Chiang, 40, said she ran out of her house with her 6-year-old son, Iman Norji, when she saw a boulder crashing down into a river near her house.

Her house was inundated with mud and water.

"I am afraid that I may not be as lucky to escape the next time around. What am I supposed to do? I don't feel safe staying here, but I have nowhere else to go."

Timah Abdullah, 70, fears for her safety following the landslide.

"I am old. I don't know if I would be able to run for safety if such an incident occurs in the future."

District Officer Datuk Ahmad Daud said the landslide happened because of a downpour and not because of earthworks.

"Nevertheless, we will look into the matter and see what we can do."