Penang Forum urges MBPP to take tougher action against hill clearing

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Photograph: forestexplorers.blogspot.com/

The Penang Forum Steering Committee has released a statement calling for tougher penalties to be imposed on those responsible for illegal hill land clearing.

MBPP should be more vigorous in prosecuting illegal earthworks

The rate at which the beautiful hills on Penang Island are being destroyed is alarming.

Ordinary citizens in the island have been taking shots of many of these clearings, many presumably illegal, and reporting them to the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

It is not clear what actions the Council has brought against these offenders. From what we read in the press, some of these offenders have been brought to court. In one of the first and well publicised cases in Bukit Relau, the company General Accomplishment was fined RM30,000.

Such paltry fines are simply pocket change to developers. It can be argued that such fines encourage more people to continue with illegal land clearing because they can simply write it off as part of business costs. Unless the Council is willing to take sterner action against these offenders, the problem will worsen.

The Council has been charging these offenders under the Street, Drainage and Building Act (1974) under section 70A that punishes any person carrying out earthworks without approval with “imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand ringgit or to both…”. Significantly, whilst the Act provides for imprisonment, this course of action has not been pursued.

Penang Forum is of the view that to deter further illegal earthworks or unauthorised development, the Council should prosecute offenders under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (TCPA) that explicitly provides for charging both the company and its officer for committing the offence.

Furthermore the language is strongly worded to shift the onus of proof on the officer whose company has committed the offence. Section 52A of TCPA states:

Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a body corporate, a person who at the time of the commission of the offence is a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate … shall, as well as the body corporate, be deemed to be guilty of that offence unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he took reasonable precautions to prevent its commission. (emphasis added)

Hence, under the TCPA, it is clear that both the company and its officer can be charged for the offence.

Here the offence refers to carrying out any development (including levelling of land) without planning permission in contravention of Section19. Section 26 specifies a penalty, upon conviction, of “a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two year or to both…”.

The maximum fine of RM500,000 under Section 26 of the TCPA is much heavier that the maximum fine of RM50,000 under Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act.

To deter further illegal land clearing and to send a stern warning to potential offenders, we urge the Council and the Deputy Public Prosecutor to charge offenders under the Town and Country Planning Act to seek the heavier penalty of imprisonment of the officer whose company is responsible for the offence, apart from the heavier fine of RM500,000 against the company. This would be a more powerful deterrent than the mere imposition of fines.

The offenders could still be charged under the Street, Drainage and Building Act as an alternative charge.

Penang Forum Steering Committee
11 August 2015

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Alvin

The BB chicken rice has gone up in price, now minimum RM3.50 per plate.
The boss could not beat GST and the weakening Ringgit.
Sigh!

glissantia

“Tough action” means slap on the wrist. It is the same for theft and destruction of wildlife, illegal logging, poisoning sources of water, poisonous products, illegal factories and farms, factory accidents, collapses of structures, extortionists, etc. The thugs laugh all the way to the bank, and then join the minders in revelry.

gk ong

Anil must be elated with ecstasy that trams are coming back to Penang.

http://m.thestar.com.my/story.aspx?hl=Trams+making+comeback+under+RM27bil+Penang+plan&sec=news&id={B8CC6D9D-BB2B-4055-9DB1-89B52D004B44}

LCP

Bought my favourite Camel brand groundnuts recently. Used to be RM 5.40 a pkt, now RM 6.20. Asked whether increase due to GST. The man said no. Due to weakening ringgit….TNS, KNN

akshaya

I have skipped tit bits to offset the rising cost due to GST.
Now can no longer get a packet of keropok for RM1.

S Tee

From Mdm P to Fortune tellers, no need psychoactive yell us where the stock market is heading towards?

Indian & Parrot Fortune Teller @ Chulia Street

Tunglang merely illustrated desperate people go for desperate measures. Keep calm! He’s not psycho you lah!

S Tee

Should post this comment in mail’s latest posting but Anil no avenue to post lah!

1MDB Arul to appear on TV3 Soal Hasan tonite 11pm may be he is telling the nation 1MDB plan to buy Empire State Building then to save falling ringgit with transaction earnings?!

lim

Maybe the Penang Forum and the environmentalists should stage a protest at MBPP to stop all these hill clearings.

S Tee

Past 14 weeks foreign fund managers exiting KLSE. If so called high purchasing power foreigners show no interest in property market, then the hill homes will eventually inhabited by the spiritual realms….tingling can share more as 7th month approaching?

S Tee

Stock market crashes
Ringgit diving
Business tough times Bad Debt accumulating
Ah Long to seize the opprtunities
The positive news however will be Penang homes lelong sale on the way……..

tunglang

Times are bad. More people seeking divine / spiritual guidance or fortune telling.
Go to Farlim’s Lebuh Raya Thean Teik after pasar malam padang. Just before traffic light junction of polis quarters, you can see many helpless souls, whether rain, freak storm or sunshine waiting for their turns of fortune telling under a tree. But for this fortune teller, this time is prosperous time, & no GST to add to the woes of his clients.

Times are bad when we have a leadership telling lies after lies until our Ringgit will hit 4.0 ++ & thunder strikes Putrajaya.

benny

Times are bad. Better hang on to your precious job.
No need fortune teller to tell us the direction we are heading under BN.
When eat out, avoid those eateries charging ++.
My neighbor told me he has to cut expenses in his consumption of economy rice at lunch by having just ‘1 meat 1 vege’ instead of the usual ‘ 1 meat 2 vege’, and may have to go ‘no meat, 2 vege’ if his contract job is not renewed later this year!

S Tee

No need fortune telling, already 4 mark.

BNM to raise OPR interest rate to curb falling RM? If so, those servicing debts better find ways to clear liabilities otherwise u know what lag!

gk ong

Has anyone tried the RM2.50 chicken rice at BB coffee shop at Bayan Baru, as featured on Astro AEC’s Budget Foodie program?

lim

Ha ha Ong, even my mom said so cheap. When you have it tried, please let me know. Tq. Times are really bad, tq 1pm…

benny

This is the place for RM2.50 chicken rice:

BB港式烧腊鸡饭 BB Chicken Rice
106, Lintang Mayang Pasir 2, Bandar Bayan Baru,
11950 Bayan Lepas, Penang.
N 5.32599∘ E 100.28610∘
+6019 4926677
1000-1400 (Closed on Wed)

https://www.facebook.com/Fulltimeliving/videos/1105893759426394/

LCP

Tunglang, yes I notice that this particular is doing good business. There is one more down the road at Lebuhraya Thean Tek, nearer to the traffic lights with Jalan Thean Tek. He is not having that many customers