A small victory for People Power
The scary project
Some positive news from Chee Seng Garden in Tanjung Bunga, Penang, after the ‘miraculous’ flooding on hill-slopes (caused by hill-slope apartment/condo projects). The MPPP has said there will be no more projects on steep hillslopes. It’s a small victory of sorts for People Power over irresponsible developers.
A resident George Aeria sends us an update:
Since the floods on 6 September, we met up with the MPPP Engineering Dept directors and the developers on the 10th, but their response was pathetic. Thus, we, the residents, pushed for a meeting with the MPPP YDP and we finally got it on 20 September.
This meeting was a surprise to us as he acted as the role of residents’ champion and instructed all parties – both the developers, his MPPP Dept directors and all other government departments – to act responsibly and to resolve all issues at the housing estate. He even stated in the meeting that he would NOT approve any more hillslope developments above Class 4 slopes i.e. > 35 degrees.
… I guess the challenge now is to see if ACTIONS match the words. All I can say in the meantime is that the new DAP government has really been good to get such a response from the MPPP. Under the Gerakan – I know as I had another issue with them in 2002 – Gerakan MPs and Adun did not help me out the way Teh (Adun for Tanjung Bunga) and Liew Chin Tong (MP for Bukit Bendera) did (in arranging) both meetings.
So let us just wait and see if the developers do whatever rectification as promised and wait for the rains to see if it is resolved. Thereafter we have to measure the YDP’s words with his forthcoming actions. SHOULD they approve anymore NEW hillslope development, then they are rubbish – CAKAP tak serupa BIKIN.
Meanwhile, the MPPP has slapped both developers with stop work orders. These orders can only be lifted if the developers comply with requirements imposed by the MPPP. The developers will have to, and I quote from the minutes of the meeting:
- Maintain the drains and retention ponds
- Clear the clogged drains, manholes and culverts
- Build the second retention pond in GLM
- Build additional cattle traps (Tmn Ratu)
- Build additional retention ponds where necessary (Tmn Ratu)
- Cover the slopes with grass
- Stabilise the slopes to avoid erosion
- Do whatever else necessary to avoid a repeat of the floods of 6 September
Residents will be monitoring closely to see if the developers comply with these requirements before the stop work orders are lifted.
Not just the MPPP, but the residents too will be closely monitoring…
At the meeting – to allay fears of residents – it was also agreed that any rock-blasting would have to be done by the book/guidelines and MUST also be overseen by the Geo-science Dept; otherwise, no blasting is to be undertaken.
Meanwhile, Tanjung Bunga Residents Association represetatives highlighted their concern over hill development in Penang that went well beyond the Environment Ministry rulings in 2002 which restricted development in Class 4 hillslopes (> 35º).
To this, the YDP stated that he has instructed his department officers to ensure there will be no more development on hillslopes that exceed a 35-degree gradient.
Blogger Mag M wants the MPPP to go further:
So, are they going to stop that particular project or does it apply only to new projects? I think our Government should stop that project and other similar projects immediately before it is too late.
We must learn to love our land and environment. Otherwise, we and our children will suffer the consequences of the destruction we failed to stop.
Han2 wants existing projects to be stopped as well:
I hope they not only stop approving new projects but get rid of the ongoing ones. It is really scary driving pass these projects during the rainy season on a daily basis to and from work.