Penang Forum responds to Botak Hill rezoning


Penang Forum has just released a statement regarding the rezoning of Bukit Relau to residential use.

Botak Hill rezoning: What happened to CAT?

The Penang Forum Steering Committee is dismayed to read press reports on 19 April 2015 which confirmed that the Penang state government had quietly rezoned hill land in Bukit Relau for residential development in December 2012.

Press reports in 2013 indicated that the hill land had been converted to residential land use. This time though, the news reports came with documentary evidence in the form of a rezoning approval letter from the Department of Town and Country Planning, Penang proving that the land had been converted.

The letter dated 3 December 2012, informed the developer that the State Planning Committee had decided on 20 November and approved on 3 December the conversion of the hilltop land to “zon perumahan”.

Bukit Relau letter image

This particular plot is more than 1200 feet above sea level. The subsequent clearing of the land by the developer in February 2013 led to a public outcry as the bald patch on what is now known as Botak Hill is glaring when one approaches the island using the Penang Bridge.

Back then, without any documentary evidence of the conversion, we had thought the land clearing was illegal.

Following the public outcry, the State Planning Committee, having already approved the conversion, decided to take some minor action – taking the developer to court for merely carrying out earthworks without permssion – presumably to placate the public.

Why did the state government not disclose the letter then that it had approved the development of the hill land? In fact, there was little transparency in this drastic change in the land use policy in Penang.

The state government must now confirm if there have been other cases of rezoning of hill land since 2008, including in places like Bayan Lepas, Balik Pulau, Tanjung Bungah, Air Itam and Batu Ferringhi. This would help to dispel talk that Bukit Relau might not be the only case of hill land being shockingly converted to residential use. The state government must make public the full list of such rezoning in line with its much touted principles of Competency, Accountability and Transparency.

We also call on the state government to reveal to the public the policy of hill land development. The Penang Structure Plans states clearly there should be no residential development above 250 feet above sea level. Are developers now going to pressure the state government to raise the 250-feet threshold in the ongoing review of the Penang Structure Plan?

We urge the state government and the Department of Town and Country Planning to hold a public dialogue to explain their actions on hill land.

Penang Forum Steering Committee
23 April 2015

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LGE tak boleh
LGE tak boleh
25 Apr 2015 1.28pm

C.A.T stands for corrupted, arrogant, tyranny

24 Apr 2015 12.01am

Once MCA was known as the towkay party. I think it is fair to say that now DAP is known as Developers’ party.

BTW, do you guys know the real reason why LGE was missing during the POTA vote and what he was doing at Australia at that time? He refused to answer the question repeatedly by the Chinese media. Clue: Nothing to do with his official work.

24 Apr 2015 10.36am
Reply to  calvinsankaran

Until today Niao Kong still owes the answer to the public.

Nioa Kong shouted 7 times “7382” and there his followers easily believing him to be the victim of the Chinese dailies.

24 Apr 2015 2.10pm
Reply to  Bernice

Tokong number 7382 when hit jackpot thiw weekend more will thank him as more can afford the condos with the prize money ?

No harm try out this week. Tunglang may able to upgrade his 4WD and Nikon, while Yang can take a rest selling condos and have more time to contribute his idealogy in 🙂

Awang Selamat Ori
Awang Selamat Ori
23 Apr 2015 11.25pm

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!

LGE is not involved in the approval and he is not aware of the approval.

It is being done by the relevant state authority that does not require his approval! LGE, truly practises the CAT Governance! Ptuuuuiiiiiii!

23 Apr 2015 9.32pm

Do we need a RSPCA to do the job?
One CAT too many in Penang already caused so much of discontentment & suspicion, the acronym should be officially announced as part of UBAH’s promises: Cement-Associated Transformation to officially admit the faux-politico penchants of Niao Kong.
Maybe we should consult Melaka’s RSPCA.

23 Apr 2015 5.47pm

Excellent letter, but will any of the powers that be take note?

24 Apr 2015 9.35am
Reply to  Michael

If they don`t take note, you and all of us should know what to do next GE

26 Apr 2015 8.40am
Reply to  Michael

There is only ONE Niao Kong, so what’s the hope of any decisive remedial action on this matter?
The only recourse is to put this CAT in a “pressure cooker” to drain it off its arrogance & bluffing.
Looks like we have a ‘tyrant’ prowling the corridors of power in Komtar Tower of Cement Associated Transformation.

23 Apr 2015 4.07pm

Media reporters must ask dear Tokong these questions and then get the 7382 answer. 1) Is it true that you approved the conversion order for Botak Hill – whcih is entirely against existing policy of no hilltop developent and this actually caused landslides? 2) Is it true that you and TKP are close friends? … 4) (Was) Penang government channeling fund into PPS? To individual or to organisation? 5) World most expensive road is it link up to botak hill? 6) Is it true that your good friend TKP sued your now-botak ADUN for defamation? 7) Is it true that… Read more »

ajith v
ajith v
23 Apr 2015 1.45pm

IProperty Expo now at Gurney Plaza til this Sunday.
Go check up the housing available.

23 Apr 2015 1.14pm

In Penang the most glaring woe is traffic congestion. Just wonder where are all the moneys (from developers) the state is doing with ?

23 Apr 2015 4.26pm
Reply to  JJR

Widening the roads only attract more vehicles on the roads.
should create more sheltered (trees) pedestrian walkways to encourage public to walk for short distance trips and not over dependent on motor vehicles.

23 Apr 2015 7.24pm
Reply to  ultron

I feel they should instead open up more road assessments to divert the many cramped-in situations especially in the island.