TANJUNG BUNGAH - Three foreign workers were killed and 11 others were missing Saturday after a landslide at a construction site on the popular Malaysian tourist island of Penang, officials said.

Huge mounds of earth slipped off a hillside in the morning and buried the men as they worked on two apartment blocks.

About 160 rescuers were deployed to hunt for the workers, and police said that the bodies of two Bangladeshi workers and one from Myanmar were pulled from the debris.

The other 11, who included one Malaysian supervisor and workers from Indonesia and Bangladesh, were still unaccounted for late Saturday at the site in the Tanjung Bungah area, said local police official Anuar Omar.

Bangladeshi Mohammad Jashim Hussein Ahmad, who was working in the area at the time, told the state-run Bernama news agency the landslide happened suddenly and was over in minute, and the other workers had no time to run.

Many migrant workers are employed in low-paying, physically-demanding industries such as construction in Malaysia.

The weather was dry at the time of the accident and Penang had not had heavy rains for some days, according to officials.

The landslide added to concerns in Penang about the pace of development, particularly near the island's hills, which critics say is damaging the environment and increasing the risk of such accidents.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng pledged a state-level inquiry would be held into the accident.

Tanjung Bungah, north of Penang's capital George Town, is home to beaches and some hotels, and is popular with expatriate residents.