Campsite Affected in Selangor Landslide Was Operating Illegally


Early this morning (16 December), Malaysia’s Selangor state saw a landslide that trapped around 100 people. 

We’re here with the latest updates on the situation. 

Campsite was Operating Illegally

Actually, this incident could have been completely avoided had the “campsite” followed regulations. 


Turns out, they weren’t even permitted to run camps!

The Minister of Local Government Development, Mr Nga Kor Ming, announced that the campsite was operating illegally without a required license. 

Adding on, he said the site operators were only approved for organic farming and not running camping activities. 

In doing so, the operators had breached regulation under the Street, Drainage and Buildings Act 1974 (Act 133), which is punishable with three years’ jail or a maximum fine of RM50,000 (~S$15000). 

“The government will take stern action. No one is above the law.”

At a press conference, he said: “They (illegally operating vendors) are urged to stop their operations and apply for licensed quickly before action is taken.”

Death Toll Rises to 16

Earlier, it was reported that two people died in the incident. Unfortunately, that number has increased eightfold to 16. 


In total, 94 people were trapped in the mud, and 61 people have been rescued at the time of writing. Around 17 others are still trapped inside the landslide. 

More About The Incident

At around 3 am, the landslide happened along the outskirts of the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, at Jalan Batang Kali, Selangor state.

According to the state Fire and Rescue Department, the disaster occurred on the side of a road near the Father’s Organic Farm farmhouse that provides camping facilities. Because it was near a campsite, there were many victims. 

The department’s director, Norazan Khamis, announced that search and rescue personnel scanned the scene for those trapped upon being alerted to the landslide. 

Officers from 12 fire stations, civil defence, and the Special Tactical Operation and Rescue Team (STORM) rushed to the hilly part of Selangor to evacuate the affected.

“The landslide is about one acre wide and fell onto the campsite. Police estimate about 100 victims at the campsite during the incident,” Khamis said, adding that the landslide fell from an estimated height of 30 metres. 

While the authorities tried their best to recover the fallen, some inevitably conceded to the natural disaster. 

Among those confirmed dead were three children, seven women, and two men, said Selangor Chief Minister Amirudin Shari. 

Chief Superintendent Suffian also told reporters that the victims were believed to have entered the campsite last Wednesday (7 December) for their camping activities. 

He also pointed out that K-9 dog units were deployed to search for the bodies. 


Unsurprisingly, an incident like this has drawn much media attention. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has even addressed the issue on Twitter. 

He said he was shocked by the news and has ordered the meticulous and systematic flow of the search and rescue missions. 

Also, representatives from the ministries involved (including himself) will go down to the location.

Ending the thread, he invites all to pray for the incident’s victims.

Campers’ Experience

Teh Lynn Xuan, a 22-year-old camper involved in the ordeal, said she and her mother had survived the incident. Unfortunately, one of her brothers had died, and another brother had been taken to the hospital with injuries. 

“We felt the tents becoming unstable and soil was falling around us,” she told New Straits Times


“My mother and I managed to crawl out and save ourselves,” she said. 

“Everything happened too quickly.”

Another camper, 57-year-old Leong Jim Meng, said he and his family were asleep when the landslide happened. 

“We felt the earth move, and the soil came down.”

The man recounted that mud covered their tent, but they managed to escape to the carpark in time before calling the emergency services. 

Image: The Straits Times

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How Do Landslides Occur? 

Essentially, landslides happen when the dirt and soil, mixed with water to form mud, from a slope slide down in significant quantities. 

This process is expedited by deforestation. How?

When trees are removed, no more roots hold the soil in place. As such, the earth has no structural integrity. 

To illustrate the function of the trees, think about the human anatomy, but without bones. We simply wouldn’t be able to stand, right? 

In this way, without the roots, soil can easily slip off when mixed with water, during rainfall, or after snow melts. 

Eventually, when this process involves large amounts of land, a landslide occurs. 

Image: Wyoming State Geological Survey

In Malaysia’s case, because it is currently the monsoon season, the land is wetter, leading to the disaster. 

Image: Selangor Fire and Rescue Department
Image: Selangor Fire and Rescue Department

On Tuesday (13 December), the Fire Department’s director-general Hamdan Wahid advised the nation to pause their recreational activities near high-landslide-risk areas, such as mountains, hills, rivers, and beaches. 


According to Malaysia’s Public Works Department, around 1,045 slopes have been identified as “very high risk,” and Selangor was one of the states with “the most number of hotspots for slope failures.”

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Featured Image: @apmtwiter/ Twitter + Selangor Fire and Rescue Department