After Penang landslide, RAs call for stronger hill protection

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A landslide in Paya Terubong has left residents in jitters and highlights the need to safeguard our hills and steep hill slopes from property development.

More than a dozen residents groups have issued an urgent statement:

We, as representatives of residents from several residential areas in Penang, express our grave concerns over the landslide at a hillslope near Lebuh Rambai 13 in Paya Terubong, Penang, that took place on the morning of Friday, 14 July 2017.

The landslide happened following heavy thunderstorms that occurred on early Friday morning. Luckily this time, there were no fatalities.

We have been alerted by residents living in the vicinity of the area affected by the landslide who are now fearing for the safety of their lives and property.

Several residents point to massive developments taking place on hill slopes nearby that could be endangering their safety.

The Paya Terubong landslide once again reveals the danger of allowing development to take place on hill slopes and on hills that are environmentally sensitive, particularly so when numerous residents live at the foothills of proposed projects as in the case of Paya Terubong and Sungei Ara.

It is precisely due to previous tragedies that have occurred such as the Highland Towers collapse and landslips and landslides in Cameron Highlands that government authorities are required to be more careful in not allowing development projects on environmentally sensitive areas such as hill land above 250 feet above sea level and with steep gradients exceeding 25 degrees.

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Development on sensitive hill land of more than 250 feet should not be allowed, as it poses serious environmental and social impacts for residents in neighbouring land such as soil erosion, landslides and landslips, unstable soil and negative impacts from blasting work.

The Penang Structure Plan 2020, gazetted in 2007, states that the exception to the prohibition on hill land development is only for ‘special projects’ but it does not define what they are. The definition and the guidelines for ‘special projects’ were approved by the present government in 2009.

This is why we reiterate our call on 9 July 2017 to the Penang state government to:

  • revise or redefine what are ‘special projects’ in the 2009 guidelines in order to explicitly prohibit any future development on hill land except for essential public amenities, pending a revision of the structure plan.
  • ensure the explicit prohibition of any future development on hill land except for essential public amenities (since the present structure plan is now pending revision) and
  • stop approving any further applications for excision of the status of ‘hill land’ from the Land Conservation Act 1960.

As regards the safety of the residents in the vicinity of the landslide incident in Paya Terubong, we call on the relevant state and federal authorities as well as the Penang Island City Council to take all necessary action urgently to ensure that no further landslides or landslips occur and to stabilise the hill slopes.

Any development project in the area that may have contributed to the landslide must be urgently investigated and monitored with actions taken to prevent any untoward tragedies or events from taking place.

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The recent landslide could be a warning that must not go unheeded of deeper problems relating to the stability of hill slopes and soil in the area. This is especially so when heavy rain is expected in the coming days.

We therefore call for urgent action to be taken to protect the safety of residents in the affected area.

This statement is issued by the following organisations:

  1. Meenakshi Raman, Tanjung Bungah Residents Association
  2. Dr Ti Lian Geh, Taman Sri Rambai /Taman Lau Geok Swee Residents’ Association, Paya Terubong
  3. Manuel Nicholas, Management Corporation Sunrise Garden Condominium, Sungei Ara
  4. Medalene Sim, Management Committee Solok Kelicap, Sungai Ara
  5. Tan Sri Datuk Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Management Corporation of The Cove, Tanjung Bungah
  6. Jeffery Ho, Taman Sri Nibong Residents Association, Sungei Nibong
  7. Abdul Rahim bin Sultan, Management Corporation of Desaria Sri Merpati Apartments, Taman Desaria, Sungai Ara
  8. Ang Sue Khoo, Pykett Residents’ Committee
  9. Henry Loh, Management Corporation of Diamond Villa, Tanjung Bungah
  10. Abdul Razak bin Osman, Management Corporation Taman Sri Putera, Taman Desaria, Sungai Ara
  11. Haji Fadzil bin Hitam, Desaria Residents Association, Sungai Ara
  12. Andy Saw, Management Corporation Regency Heights Condominium, Taman Desaria, Sungai Ara
  13. Hor Cheok Weng, Management Committee of Mawar Apartments, Sungei Nibong
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43 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps high grade hill slope and water catchment areas should be protected by a public campaign of tree-spiking.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236898574_Recommendations_regarding_the_use_of_tree_spiking_as_a_legal_tool_to_combat_illegal_logging_in_Indonesia_Unpublished_report_for_the_Directorate_General_of_Nature_Conservation_Ministry_of_Forestry_Indo

    Requires a group or individuals dedicated to placing spikes (6-9 Inch Nails) in trees within the protected hill zone.

    Traditional “slow” methods of logging for longhouse building, making canoes, or exploitation of forest trees for resin, dammar, gahru, etc. are not impacted if hand-saw, axe or parang are utilized.

    Note the the CM has claimed that no project has destroyed legally protected trees. Hold his feet to the fire to this statement. Only do this within the forestry reserves or on technically high grade hill slope.

    Requires notification of public, media, contractors and government that you have “potentially” spiked forest areas after spiking.

    Activists have put red paint on the bounds of tree zones that may have been spiked. In national parks or reserves the general tactic is to spike near road, waterways, already cleared areas, or along trails or other places with evidence of survey by loggers.

    Note that use of non-mechanized hand saws and traditional milling devices pose not risk to the implements by spiking. High speed mechanized chain saws, or milling saws can be permanently damaged. Arborists report spiking does not harm healthy trees. Damage to the tree from a spike is no more than a broken branchlet during a moderate rainfall.

  2. Protest here protest there in cyberspace?
    More constructive take concrete action like
    a) plant more trees in your neighborhood.
    b) drive less walk more
    c) don’t feed the strays, but give them true TLC like a proper home and licence to breed.
    d) be a volunteer for PSM
    e) if can’t do above, pray for fellow beings sincerely.

    • Dogs in pg are more equal than dogs in kerian and people are fear of centralised party running the council as compare to dap. Who is damn arrogant party ~ in kerian or pg where rakyat made the biggest hue?

    • Already we have seen useless politicians with strategic communication units defending MO1 by spewing venomous rubbish… !

    • Lives in Sarawak not important? 5 people die of rabies. Two children in the same bumi famiy die because they can’t afford to seek treatment. Yes pg Lang are tokongs and Tun Langs?

  3. Often I have driven between Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah wondering at the possibility of some of those condos sliding into the sea. The 250 foot level should be a limit that does not automatically allow questionable development below that level.

    • Condo sliding into sea, before that evacuate all humans to safety, the concrete fallen into sea reclaim more lands to the island!

  4. Penang, as featured on Singapore’s Channel 8 Frontline program:

    Street food:


    Pastry shop Passionis at Siam Road, opened by 3 Singapore ladies


    Penang properties in the eyes of Singaporeans

    • Sporeans keen to visit and do business in Penang but not likely to invest in condos unlike China folks.

      Also noticed this morning a bus load of Mainland Chinese going to the showroom of Queens Residence ( sea reclaimed project facing Jerejak Island which may appeal to Margie as well) at The Arena near Spice to potentially buy their vacation homes in Penang. Many local Penangites can only dream on to afford a unit there.

      • Told you in our grandfather’s day we send money, sewing machine, bicycle back ancestor village in teung shua for being poor and backwards. Now switch roles, Malaysians after 60 years under Gilakan ammo gomen we become poor and backwards unlike our relatives in singland

      • Zoro is right. Now MCA has to worship PRC bigwig firms like Wanda and AliBaba. Average PRC folks can eat up our Musang King durian with no guilt and swallow bird nest for cooling down when Ringgit is so affordable to them.

      • Old Grandfather’s Cina Story!
        Spinning won’t make you rich!
        Pls switch to working harder to earn more (real money).
        Better than addiction to Komtar Dedak (for shiok sendiri) which may not last.

    • Same with grandfathers in pg. In past they owe rubber estates, trade rubber sheets or distribute boon siew kapchais. Now no more. Pg does down hill. China climb uphill to match yankees. They make cheap drones which can stay longer than uncle Sam. They invent underwater glides to detect Malaysian and uncle Sam submarines in real time. Wechat can do payment over counter. Pg everything cannot.

  5. This is just one corner of exposed hill slopes, above which are 2 new blocks of completed condos (pls refer to the ‘dark alley’ of an article Anil uploaded last year?). You should see the entire stretch of exposed hill slopes (of more than 25 degree) starting from this point of landslide all the way to hill above Sun Moon City condos for the proposed parallel road linking to Bukit Gambier. Mind you, the exposed slopes look more like 35 degree or more but the manner of hill slope excavation is beyond comprehension. Do they need to cut so much of the hill forest just for one line of hill road?
    Did they the CATs not learn from this past hill slope disaster:
    “A major landslide took place on Bukit Kukus fronting the Sunmoon City flat blocks in November 1997, bringing down heavy soil and boulders that crushed and destroyed at least 15 vehicles, including a factory bus parked below.”
    Going back to this Lan Geok Swee landslide, above which is a hugely exposed hill of sleepless nights now covered with white sheets looking more like the Shroud of Turin. Jesus!
    My 6-sense tells me something is not right here (where after more than a decade of relentless hill cutting at this site with not a single low-rise building erected!).
    I am sure the angry Deities of the affected temple will not be pleased with Tokong.
    Note: There is another temple on the hill right above this ‘Shroud of Paya Terubong’. Will it face the same fate?

  6. Lee George – it is important to protest so that more penangites become aware and come together with a strong voice. I agree with Tan BH – the most effective way to save Penang is via political power. Anil would be a good candidate. Focus on penang adun seats. Never lose hope that penangites can change our political scenario. Penang Green Party is a suitable name.

    • U mean adun protest for 1month and rest of 11 months resting ?. One adun can do the work ? Protest? Tun Lang does a better job.

      • Pls don’t ‘bodek’! You will be disappointed as I am not that rich as Komtar CAT to feed (any) daily addiction of Komtar Dedak.
        Pls work a regular job with regular income, not dedak. Paham kah?

      • Who cares about rich or poor or regular job? Those doing scam phone calls are having a regular job.

      • Try to be like gilakan liang, bn Eric ctoo, amno former not well being minister and you form 4 sided attack. Trinity not enough but gang of 4 to bully one man? Your regular job tak cukup and get side income as advised by amno men?

  7. You think they will listen to your protest?we can protest all we want and I can tell you they couldnt care less!We went to see one so called exco member by the name of jadeep singh or sound something like it and guess what he told us we are ‘barking at the wrong office’ as he cant help us.so what is there to protest?

    • You listen to protest when the slide occurs in green planted as shown in anil’ s photos? It is not in recent hillslope cuts. If one buy property in hillslope, the residents who own the land must ensure his land do not induce slide caused by leaking water pipes, sewer and stains. Under 50 years of governing system rakyat loves to play pushing hands and tau chi. If one buy uphill, they have to pay for its view proper maintenance. Do not expect public workers to come to private land and inspect and carry out maintenance

      • Engineers are the ones designing high rise buildings and checking slope stability. Now we have incompetent engineer who can’t do and only solution is to vote. Go to teung shua like avatar mountains, hua mountains, yellow mountains and see china once under chairman Mao and our relatives are do poor that pg lang has to send money, sewing machines and bicycles back to ancestor village. Now is the reverse flow. Pg lang is so poor, and Chinese have to send money to pg. See how Chinese build elevator, cable chairs and suspension glass bridge at 2000m above msl so that people can admire the green scenery. In pg we can’t build anything above 70m as compare to 2000m in avatar mountains.
        Further even in small towns people are using handphones to pay what they buy. McDonald,one can order meals through touch screen. Here we use guest workers.

      • Engineer should provide engineering solution towards hill slope protection, but not becoming a mouthpiece of MO1.

    • Even if live near the sea shore, erosion will wash the land and soon the house. Don’t reproduce, eat less. Population will soon be 10 billions. Please tell us where and how to put up the population. Share house with them?

      • Population increases b’cos people … can’t control urges to procreate!
        Be more responsible. Use condoms.
        Unless one is very rich to afford many children. Paham kah?

      • Just to procreate? Like coke, they want the real thing and no barrier. Get like you want to drive a 4wd.

  8. Perhaps Anil can lead a splinter group from PSM/Aliran to form Penang’s very own Green Party, focusing on sustaining our Island’s diminishing greenery and having a right to veto any further rampant property development esp on red alert areas such as the hillsides. But of coz you need to be win a seat first and I suggest the Tanjung Bungah DUN is a good choice for start.

    Median Income Higher Seat— More emphasize on Greenery—DAP drop ah Teh ( Possibly)—First win for non-mainstream Politics after PSM.

    • In times of grave danger of losing the greenery, we need a great leader who can diplomatically work with both sides of political divide. Anil, bring it on !

    • Teh is a protest guy who never demonstrate constructively his plan to conserve the green. At least he should initiate tree planting in Tanjung Bungah, right?

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