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How a tragedy changed hillside development in Malaysia

25 11 13

YESTERDAY marked the 25th anniversary of a major tragedy Malaysian history in which the Highland Towers condominium in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur collapsed, killing 48 residents.

Dubbed the nation’s worst housing tragedy, Block 1 of the three Highland Towers nestled on a green hillside in Ulu Klang – some 20 minutes drive away from the city centre – caved in from a massive landslide on the fateful afternoon of Dec 11, 1993.

Authorities later found that the tragedy struck the upscale condominium estate, occupied mostly by upper-middle-class families and expatriates, after 10 days torrential rain that triggered the landslide.

Among those killed in the tragedy were the son of the then Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam and the former’s wife, along with 12 foreigners from the United Kingdom, Japan, India and Korea.

How the tragedy struck

Consisting of three similar 13-story blocks, the project was built in phases between 1974 and 1982 on a steep hill that underwent a substantial amount of land clearance.

The three blocks were located near a creek at the top of the hillslope in Taman Hillview. In the construction phases, water from the creek was diverted into an existing pipe system.

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© Asian Correspondent