Alarming images of Botak Hill


This is a close-up view of what Botak Hill looks like these days. The video footage was taken by a concerned Penangite.

You can imagine the surface run-off from those badly eroded slopes and deep gullys during heavy rain.

The Penang Island City Council is supposed to be overseeing at least damage mitigation if not restoration of Botak Hill. But judging from these images, the condition looks dire.

Although hills in many other parts of the country have been scarred as well, the impact of such degradation is felt greater in Penang because of the high population density close to the hills.

A couple of nights ago, floods were reported in Sungai Ara, Bayan Baru, Relau, Bukit Jambul, Sungai Nibong, Jalan Sungai Dua and Brown Garden, among various affected places on the island and the mainland (including areas close to Bagan Specialist Centre).

Even the area around the large concrete Spice convention centre was hit.

Imagine how these repeated floods are going to affect property values of the affected homes – and insurance premiums for flood cover (if at all homes, apartment blocks, and vehicles are covered from flood damage), not to mention the mess and damage left behind.

The intensity of the rain, probably due to climate change, led to rising water levels in rivers and drains. But this was aggravated by haphazard and high-density over-development of buildings, considerable hill-slope development and the pouring of concrete and tar all over flat ground – without sufficient open spaces for ground-water absorption and adequate drainage infrastructure.

READ MORE:  Revealing Google Earth compilation of hill cuttings reported by Penang Hills Watch

All this has been allowed to take place in the absence of the Penang Island Local Plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2008, but then never put up for public display or gazetted.

Since then, there has been a four-fold increase in maximum density allowed for new projects – from 30 homes per acre to the present 128 homes per acre. If that is not over-development, I don’t know what is.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.


  1. The problem with the guideline is that it remains a guideline with no legal implication if it is not followed. Malaysia is a nation where big breaches can be small through a process
    of ‘kau-tim’ unheard in european countries. At the end of the day all the laws will be broken
    and the breaches smoothened after the ‘kau-tim’ process.

  2. The rise of the urban jungle

    (CNN)What do an avenue of grand oaks, a community park and a rooftop vegetable patch have in common?

    They can all form part of a city’s “urban forest”, which numerous studies over the past decade have concluded make people happier.

    And that’s not their only job: urban forests protect our cities from extreme weather, climate change and water scarcity.

    But with more than 70% of people expected to have squeezed into cities by 2050, this green infrastructure is under threat, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    “The cities of the future are going to have major problems in making sure that people live a decent life,” Simone Borelli, an urban forestry expert and co-author of a recent FAO report on global urban forestry guidelines, tells CNN.

    “If you don’t maintain those forests there’s no clean water, and then there’s no food security. It’s a pretty simple equation but not many people think about it.”
    Are we about to lose our urban forests?

  3. Penang Forum apparently too preoccupied with botak hills that they forgot Jln Kuala Kangsar behind Chowrasta has also being Botak without permit now to trade business carried out for decades. Anil should try morning Wan Tan Mee there only RM3 but its vegetarian one.

  4. iProperty is trying to soothe the nerve by saying that there will be no property bubble in Malaysia in the next five years. The developers are hoping that this will not scare people not to buy now.

    But we all know that there is already over supply and glut.
    Trust them at your peril.


    Ferry transport matter takes a back seat to Botak matter in because Penang Forum folks don’t take ferries ?

    MCA Penang boss Tan Teik Cheng being PPC Chairman needs to show his skills as his predecessors like Chua Soi Lek not able fulfill the needs of ferry users. MMC Corp with 51% stake appears not interest in ferry services, while Presarana the rest from Syed Mokhtar’s.

  6. Tunglang you as well ask macc to investigate why hadi’s private huduf act355 is being delay again in the parliament? like Penang local plan, why you let bn .. you and put hudud act 355 behind?

  7. Experts, consumer groups concur with minister’s ‘rent first, buy later’

    Property experts and consumer associations have mostly agreed with Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani’s recommendation for young Malaysians to rent houses instead of buying properties.

    “I recommend younger cohorts enter the rental market rather than going through the undue stress of owning a house,” Economics associate professor Poon Wai Ching told Malaysiakini.

    Last week, Johari recommended that young working Malaysians rent houses long-term “until they have money to make a long-term commitment (of buying houses)” because this would encourage them to focus on building their careers.

    In an extended explanation of his position, he was critical of the current culture where many young Malaysians committed themselves to “two big financial burdens” of purchasing accommodation and automobiles at the start of their careers…

  8. Of developer’s associated party orso sell a lot of kopi tiam, mamAK shop and hawker licences. if they apply and meet all the conditions developers’ party must act like north Korea and say “no”? If no kopi tiam, tua pek Kong will starve of his happy drink

  9. These Botak Hills could possibly be the sites of ‘My Happy Place’ projects….?

    EcoWorld’s EWINT stock rose 11% (11 Sen) upon IPO on KLSE mainboard – makes many investors happy and richer overnight.

  10. MACC turns green warrior to save environment

    Graft-busters form information-sharing network with experts and activists to prevent environmental degradation facilitated by graft and power abuse.
    PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has linked up with environmental experts and activists to fight environmental degradation caused as a result of corruption and abuse of power.
    They have formed the Environmental Protection and Anti-Corruption Caucus (Epacc), an information-sharing network, to curb corruption and strengthen law enforcement.
    “It is believed that integrated and continuous cooperation can eradicate illegal logging, pollution and illegal land-clearing.
    “This in turn can prevent untoward incidents such as flooding and soil erosion,” said MACC in a statement today.
    Epacc is made up of representatives of MACC; Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia; Rimba Research; Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam; the Chemical Engineering Department of the Faculty of Chemical and Energy Engineering of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; Centre for Science and the Environment; and Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia.

    My Observation: It is not too late to catch recalcitrant political traders, greedy bribing developers, irresponsible corrupt officials & tidak-apa enforcement officers, on whom responsibilities are entrusted & expected of them to develop the states / country without harming the fragile environment in the name of cosmo-development.
    MACC should also pursue (relentlessly w/o mercy) the contentious Penang Local Plan matter, why is it not in place, why is it still delayed. This is a highly, no brainer suspicious matter as it’s perennial AWOL may lead to state abuses of land laws & manipulated loop-holes around its originally intended development plan & purpose.

  11. I will vote DAP in the next GE because I want to see Gurney Drive banjir. I also hope to see banjir in the tunnel.

  12. This is clearly NOT the time to quadruple the population density for any of a number of reasons including the lack of infrastructure and climate change. Denuding the hills will inevitably lead to problems with runoff and soil erosion, as it has in many other places. This is not rocket science.

    • Will,
      the Rocket symbol of Developers’ Associated Party speaks volume for this developers’ surreal proposition of an increase in population in Penang! Anything, they can sell under the Andaman sky including Happy Homes south of the Andaman Sea.
      Clearly, it’s a development science best understood & sold by political traders to willing, gullible folks!

  13. Well… Penangites still treat LGE like a deity despite several hills became botak, and reclamation rights (allegedly) given to less established players.

    • Of course he is deity as compare you and gilakan treat dumno like thy kingdom come. You must be very quietly happy as they have given more than 10EOTs to developers.

  14. A simple answer – incessant over development. Anyone who passes by there will give the same comment !

    • They are telling there will be no flood if there is no development. So China never experience flood from yellow and Yangtze River in China’s history. Of I am always wrong and those disagree with me is always right.

    • Time for a new chairman of State Planning Committee (SPC).
      As for a new CM, let’s see this coming GE.
      This is a problem when we honestly voted for a saviour politician who trumpeted the holy “Cleaner Greener Penang” but along the way turned out to be a political trader (after a bin-chui taste of MercS300Lansi) with a misleading CAT mantra-slogan.

      Another choice here, call the RSPCA: 04-281 6559
      This is to avoid knee-jerk reactions claiming mistreatment of a highly-worshipped CAT.

      • SPC is yes man for Deity.Once i told one Malay blogger the next PM should be the Deity.He save $$$ by flying AirAsia and he will save Malaysia from greedy Political Traders. I thought he is the right person.(year 2008)

        How wrong am i now.

        rajraman.$$$ and power change alots of peoples.A good example the Deity himself.Iron fist grip like Mahathir and MO1.
        Wondering which goverment need to change.At Federal level all buaya and at State level Tiger in form of Cat.

      • fly airasia too cheap, ride mercs too expensive. there are always those want to win and others to lose

  15. Warning of ‘homeless generation’, HBA wants Rent-To-Own’ for middle-class too

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Putrajaya should expand “Rent-to-Own” housing schemes to cover the middle-class who are also struggling to buy homes and prevent the country from ending with a “homeless generation”, the National House Buyers Association (HBA) said.

    HBA honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said that while there are merits to the second finance minister’s remarks last Thursday, that those seeking to buy houses should not enter into long-term financial commitment until they are ready, this should also be weighed against other factors.

    “However, whether such prospective house buyers should just continue renting until they are ready is another issue, especially in view that increase in house prices are always going to outpace increase in salaries,” he told Malay Mail Online in an email interview.

    My Observation: It’s high time to ditch the political game & honestly work for the Rakyat’s need of affordable housing. Time to rein-in the developers’ penchant for surreal property pricing & look into their cost makeup to profit margins. And high time to stop the politico-corporate tango which serves no good Karma purpose except to enrich the few i.e. greedy developers, cheap-discounts politicians & approval / enforcement agency personnels.

    • Renting?
      Just a ploy by many home owners to get rental $ for their otherwise unoccupied homes (that cannot find buyers) in order to pay off the housing loans?

      • There is a global paradigm shift from home ownership > renting where freehold title ownership is not the end of it. People want quality of life with sufficient purchasing power to enjoy decent lifestyles rather than to be a lifelong slaves to the banks of home loans.

        Cheng Beng is an appropriate time to ponder on what is the meaning of life.

  16. The video of Botak Hill looks like it’s taken from Bukit Kukus @ Paya Terubong.
    There is an on-going parallel hill-road construction linking to Bukit Jambul. This senseless hill slope cutting (some at more than 45 degree) warrants an ‘investigation’ (to borrow from Lim Kit Siang’s famous word) into CAT’s approval for such dangerous hill-cutting.

    Where is MBPP monitoring? What is the purpose of a state safety guideline as illustrated below:
    A safety guideline for hillsite developments of a state government has been developed with the aim of mitigating landslides and saving lives. Landslides often occur in areas with steep hills especially hills with activities such as developments for residents and commercial or agricultural purposes. The risk to lives and properties is higher in hillsite developments for residents and commercial purposes. This paper describes the initiatives taken by a state government in Malaysia to improve the practice of engineering on slopes for new developments. This safety guideline was developed for a more transparent and clearer practice on what needs to be done by main stakeholders, namely developers and their consultants, contractors and the local authority. The Guideline starts with a simple slope classification based on gradient for planning approval. The design requirements for a hillsite development are based on the hazard levels. The required expertise to ensure safety of slopes with gradient steeper than 25° and above is specified. It also requires an independent audit of the design and regular inspection of the site to check the compliance of construction. The qualifications of submission engineers for a proposed development and its independent checker on slopes greater than 25° are specified to ensure competent geotechnical engineers with relevant experience to undertake the design and supervision and independent checking works. The Guideline also details the submission requirements needed for a proposed development including the formats of geotechnical design and independent checker reports.

      • I was there just a few months ago, but could not proceed further than a No Entry Sign. But this video is showing more hill cutting? which I didn’t see then. What is the meaning of Cleaner Greener Penang? Quietly botak-ing the hills?

        My Observation: The present slap-on-the-wrist fine by state law is nothing for such recitrant hill cuttings to proceed by those who can easily pay such a fine.
        MBPP, Jabatan Perhilitan & environment agency should work together to come up with a deterrent, a law which can send any offender (i.e. the CEO of the company, not the contracted company) to jail (minimum 10 years), blacklist the developer & impose fine a million ringgit with no appeal.

    • what the big fuss and hue? can you understand when slope more than 25 deg get geo engineer? are you a engineer?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here