Penang Hills Watch highlights 12 hill-clearings in second report to state government


This media statement has just been released by Penang Forum. A dozen more hill-clearing cases have been reported.

The Penang Hills Watch (PHW) initiative of Penang Forum (PF) submitted its second report on hill-clearing cases in Penang to the state government on 3 April 2017 in which 12 observations made by the public were highlighted.

On 4 May 2017, Penang Forum members met with YB Chow Kon Yeow, state executive councillor for local government, traffic management and environment, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) engineering director Ir Addnan Mohd Razali and Penang State Forestry Department director Tuan Rusli Tahir to seek clarification on these reported cases as well as follow-up on cases last reported in January.

At the meeting Tuan Rusli informed about the use of the department’s forest monitoring using remote sensing (FMRS), which combines the use of high-resolution satellite imagery, cameras mounted on drones and computerised mapping with geographical information system (GIS) for surveillance and detection of clearing activities within the state’s forests.

While the Forestry Department’s effort in monitoring through remote sensing is to be lauded, Penang Forum contends that there is merit in complementing remote monitoring with the kinds of field observations that the Penang Hills Watch project has been set up to report, particularly where clearing activities are not so clearly detectable from the air.

Penang Forum appreciates the prompt action taken by the Penang State Forestry Department in liaison with other state departments to investigate a series of reported clearing activities happening on the slopes of Bukit Laksamana in Mukim Teluk Bahang.

On 25 July 2017, Penang Forum received the written response from MBPP that provides details of the 12 cases of land-clearing described in the PHW second report. The specific lot numbers where the activities were observed were identified, as well as the status and action undertaken by the MBPP were stated.

The specific responses to each of the 12 cases have been duly updated in the PHW portal.

In summary, all 12 cases of hill clearing were not officially approved (see table below).

Seven cases occurred on private land, of which one is a former quarry. Stop work orders have been issued for all seven cases. Legal action is being taken on three of these cases, including the former quarry area, while for the other four cases the owners have been issued restoration orders.

The remaining five cases have been identified to occur on state land, whereby the MBPP has referred to the relevant government agencies for follow-up action.

No. Cases Number

MBPP Action


Land clearing without MBPP approval (privately owned land)


Stop work order issued

Restoration order issued

Legal action initiated


Former quarry land


Discussion with Legal Adviser on legal recourse


Land clearing on state-owned land


Notification sent to relevant agencies: PDT-DBD, PTG, MAINPP, Pejabat Hutan



It is obvious from the MBPP response above that other government agencies with particular jurisdiction over state-owned land would need to be actively engaged in this continuing endeavor to minimise the adverse impacts of hill land-clearing activities.

Penang Forum sincerely hopes that in future meetings, which YB Chow had indicated willingness to convene, there would be wider representation of the relevant agencies that had been and will be invited to attend and participate.

Note: Penang Hills Watch, launched by Penang Forum in October 2016, is a citizens-oriented initiative to provide an information platform for keeping watch on activities affecting the hills of Penang.

The public can view and download the submitted PHW report as well as the response from the state government, at the Penang Hills Watch Facebook page (@PenangHillsWatch) or the Penang Forum website and see them interactively on a map at the Penang Hills Watch page.

Reports of hill clearing can be submitted via email ([email protected]) or through its Facebook page.

Penang Forum steering committee
30 August 2017

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3 Sep 2017 10.37am

Penang Forum folks can visit Singapore’s
St John’s Island, where a 2.8 km trail marking out its history, natural habitats and vast biodiversity has just been launched.

The 2.8km trail has signboards and covers various ecosystems such as mangroves, coastal forests and their wildlife.

Can recommend such trail at Pulau Jerejak.

4 Sep 2017 12.17pm
Reply to  Gregory

Penang Forumers appear to enjoy bashing the authority without providing concrete executable environmental ideas that can be included into state sustainable development plan.

I bet they will start to cry foul over the demise of a colonial tree at Botanic Garden. If they are sincere, they could have proposed and insisted plant nursery years ago to replace the diseased ones.

4 Sep 2017 12.26pm
Reply to  Gregory

Penang Forum should sponsor Anil’s field trip to Singapore Pulau Ubin, and come back with fresh noble ideas for Pulau Jerejak.

The Forum can seek CSR funding from nature loving corporate expatriates living in Penang.

31 Aug 2017 7.11pm

Private land cleared without permit: Will the hills, trees and heritage buildings be restored?

Public land creared without permit: The typical practice so far has been negotiation with and concessions to the lawless.

Above all, will any of the criminal wealth be seized?

Jiayee Ma
Jiayee Ma
31 Aug 2017 7.58am

Penang under DAP is in a mess ? Now that undersea tunnel contractor Zenith is looking funny, very funny indeed ! What are they up for ?

SL Tay
SL Tay
31 Aug 2017 11.42am
Reply to  Jiayee Ma

Funny is you still depend on The Star for news.

Happy Hari Kebangsaan for all Malaysians
(Hari Merdeka for West Malaysians).

2 Sep 2017 2.06pm
Reply to  Jiayee Ma

Major tunnels require (a) high capital (b) tech competence (c) ongoing, expensive maintenance (d) a viable financial plan. Despite all this, the failures and disasters are notable: (a) Hokkaido (b) France-UK (c) Alps – one major tunnel. Expect disasters in KL because the region is karst (limestone). Under-sea is madness. Even if you blast through a granite mountain, do you expect the formation to be unaffected by the change – because an engineering consultant told you so?

30 Aug 2017 6.18pm

Penang is the happiest state, according to Happiness in the City Index 2017 survey