By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, August 18, 1994:
Highland Towers Tragedy survivors and residents fully justified in feeling aggrieved at being forgotten and ‘visctimised’ and wanting to seek legal redress against Ampang Jaya Municipal Council and those responsible for the condominium collapse
The Highland Towers survivors, residents and owners are justified in feeling aggrieved at being forgotted and ‘victimised’ and wanting to seek legal redress against the Ampang Jaya Minucipal Council and those responsible for the condominium collapse, the loss of 48 lives and the impairement of the safety of the remaining two condominium blocks.
I fully sympathise and support the feeling expressed by the President of the Highland Towers Residents and Owners Committee, Dr. Benjamin George, that “justice had not been done and not even seen to be done” because of the lack of action by the authorities against those responsible for the Highland Towers Collapse Disaster.
Despite the investigations by its Inquiry Committee and the RM1,600 it is charging for the report, the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Inquiry has failed to address the most crucial question about the tragedy, such as:
* Was the main cause of the Highland Towers collapse its ‘weak foundation’ or the massive landslides caused by development by neighbouring property owners?
*Why is ther a contradiction between the findings of the Main Committee of the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Inquiry Committee from those of its Technical Committee?
The Main Committee blamed the developer, draughtsman and engineer as the principal parties responsible for the condominium collapse while the Technical Committee seems to apportion equal blame on the developer, draughtsman, engineer, neighbouring property owners as well as the relevant local authorities.
*Why did the Ampang Jaya Minicipal Council exonerate the local authorities from any principal responsibility for the condominium collapse when they are doubly responsible for two reasons:
i. for issuing certificate of fitness for occupation (CF); and
ii in not controlling developments in the vicinity of Highland Towers.
There seems to be a concerted attempt by the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and the relevant authorities to sweep unpleasant aspects of the Highland Towers Tragedy under the carpet.
I am publishing a booklet on the Highland Towers Tragedy to ensure that the 48 lives lost in the disaster had not died in vain
As a result, justice is not done nor seen to be done and the Highland Towers survivors, resident and owners feel aggrieved and victimized by the unfair and insensitive handling of the whole tragedy by the authorities.
I had suggested that the Ministry of Housing and Local Government should set up a special task force to help the survivors, residents and owners to seek compensation, but this has been consistently ignored by the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Dr. Ting Chew Peh.
It is for this reason that I am publishing a booklet, incorporating my speeches in Parliament on the Highland Towers Tragedy, to ensure that the 48 lives lost in the disaster had not died in vain.