Bukit Relau hill-top destruction: Penang NGOs call for sterner action

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A string of NGOs in Penang held a packed press conference at the Penang Heritage Trust office to call on state and local authorities to take stronger action against the developer responsible for the hill destruction at Bukit Relau.

In particular, they want the authorities to use the Town and Country Planning Act, which allows for a maximum fine of RM500000, for unauthorised development. The TCPA also allows for the lifting of the corporate veil to make directors and other top officer personally responsible, which could even result in imprisonment of up to two years.

Instead of the TCPA, the authorities had used the Street, Drainage and Building Act, which only allows for a maximum fine of RM50000 – without holding the directors personally liable. (The developer was fined RM30000 and the authorities are now appealing for a higher fine.)

The NGOs also want the company and other companies associated with the directors to be blacklisted.

In addition, the NGOs want all development activities on this hill-top stopped and no permission to be granted for the project.

They also want the hill-top restored to its original condition using new ‘restoration ecology’ methods. They are also calling for the rezoning of the hill-top to be reversed.

They are also calling on the MPPP to make public the list of all special projects approved on its website.

Among the NGOs endorsing the call were Penang Forum, Malaysian Nature Society and five residents associations (Sungai Ara, Jesselton, Tanjong Bungah, Taman Sri Nibong and Bayan Bay.

Among the prominent individuals endorsing the call were Adun Dr Jayabalan, Dr Sharom Ahmat, Dr Leong Yueh Kwong, lawyer Agatha Foo, Kanda Kumar, Ahmad Chik and MPPP Councillor Muhd Bakhtiar.

Yueh Kwong pointed out that only 15 per cent of the whole of Penang state is covered in natural vegetation while just 9 per cent is gazetted as reserves.

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Penangkia

Why Bukit Relau Hill only? Has everyone forgotten about the raping of Penang Hill? The illegal clearing of Penang Hill land by unscrupulous farmers is so obvious and open burnings are done on a daily basis, but no one is making any noise. MPPP is not doing anything. Why? Because they have DAP flags planted in their farms?

penangite

MPPP: Insufficient proof to act on hill developer….with that said, this matter is turning out to be just like a certain murder case that was recently in the lime light…next thing you know, the developers may have been framed…come on laa, mppp and the state government…you can’t be playing the same tune…the proof was visible and have been viewed by those using the penang bridge all the while

tunglang

If our gomen (state or federal) is sincere to protect Nature (hills, rivers, lakes, seas, trees, animals, air), why can’t it formulate effective laws & tighter enforcement against corporate figures similar (now, it has to be) to fighting traffickers of endangered species? Make it also an immediate ‘lock-up’ of law breakers against Nature, esp. arresting the directors of such recalcitrant developers at the first instance of discovery of crimes against the environment. Make it an expensive bailing-out affair with confiscation of passport & heavy equipments. Also, shame the guilty directors & recalcitrant companies including the projects in question. If CCRIS… Read more »

Plain Truth

A couple of jail sentences is all it takes to make these errant developers toe the line.

eng hock

only 15 per cent of the whole of Penang state is covered in natural vegetation while just 9 per cent is gazetted as reserves.

So we need to plant more trees wisely and scientifically (trees that don’t shed leaves easily or which roots do not crack the surface) in the heart of the chaotic traffic jam streets. What’s the cost of a plant ? We can finance that with fines from errant developers !

don anamalai

Agreed fully. But Majlis Bandaraya should not plant artificifial coconut tree with LED lights that is common in many Malaysian towns. Forget about any form of water fountain as we can see that many such fountains using public fund are dry with no water due to no maintenance.