Here’s why Penang should ban hill-slope development


These pictures are of the Beverly Hills project, developed by Taman Ratu, and of the Surin Apartments project, developed by Bolton Bhd – all in Tanjung Bunga, the constituency of former Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon

Clearly, there is a need to check if the developers have complied with the conditions in the development order and to see if the retention ponds are functioning properly. If these have been flouted, the MPPP has to issue a stop-work order.

This is what Taman Ratu says about itself and its Beverly Hills project:

Welcome to Beverly Hills 11200
Your very own residential sanctuary

Every carefully considered acquisition of an elite Beverly Hills Property speaks volumes of its proprietor. With its Mediterranean inspired resort-like architecture and landscaped surroundings, Beverly Hills 11200 is a retreat as much as it is a showpiece featuring impeccable design and development credentials.


no single word can more appropriately describe the effervescence of our latest collection of Exclusive Residences

Nestled between a rich backdrop of Hill and Sea, our selection of distinctively tailored private residences caters towards the most discerning of tastes

Taman Ratu Sdn. Bhd. is a property developer with years of experience in Malaysia, with a perfect track record in sales, dedicated to enhance the living standards.

Building on the success of The Marina Tower, Twin Towers, Coastal Towers, and The Straits Regency, as the ultimate statement in stylish luxury living with the grand seaview of Ratu Mutiara, Tanjung Bungah, Penang.

The Pakatan state government must ban all hill-slope development from now on. It cannot afford to adopt a “business friendly” stance with such developers – not at the expense of residents and their surrounding environment. This is a clear-cut case of “business friendly” policies running counter to the people’s interest.

A clearly upset Lim sent in this comment:

Yes, all hill development should stop right now itself. The state government should not allow the Surin project or any other projects on hill slopes to be developed. This will only lead to the destruction of Penang. I appeal to PKR, don’t continue to allow what BN has allowed.

I am a victim of these two recent floods, one in July and this recent one. You cannot imagine my suffering and stress.

Han2 mourns the Penang he has lost and holds Koh Tsu Koon responsible:

I just moved back from KL to my own house in Batu Ferringhi and each time I pass those hill slope development projects, I can only think of human greed and the stupidity of the previous state government for approving these projects. I do not know what to make of these projects but the muddy sea water tells me all is not right. When I see Koh Tsu Koon in person, I will insist he explains his decisions to me to my satisfaction before I let him go. He ruined my Penang.

More pictures inside

As for the Surin project, it is being developed by GLM Property Development Sdn Bhd, which is 100 per cent owned by Bolton Bhd. Here is some information from Bolton’s 2008 Annual Report. Notice the emphasis on speed:

Surin, Penang

Surin development was soft-launched within three months of completion of the purchase of the land. The speed in which we turnaround a raw piece of land into a development project is a critical factor in our investment decision as a short lead time eliminates many project risks.

Since its initial soft-launch in November 2007, Surin has registered encouraging sales of more than 65% of the 198 units of the first tower on offer. Contribution to the Group’s revenue will be significant in the next two financial years.

Substantial shareholders of Bolton Bhd:

No. Name of Substantial Shareholders Direct Interest %* Indirect Interest %*
1. Forum Equity Sdn. Bhd. 67,993,410 22.25 – –
2. Gajahrimau Capital Sdn. Bhd. 46,500,000 15.22 – –
3. Dubai Investment Group Limited 28,500,000 9.33 – –
4. Lim Yen Haat 10,943,383 3.58 5,133,926(1) 1.68
5. Chin Jit Pyng 9,571,606 3.13 8,000,000(2) 2.62
6. Lim Hooi Teik 8,725,900 2.86 9,053,400(3) 2.96
7. Dato’ Mohamed Azman bin Yahya 3,500,000 1.15 46,500,000(4) 15.22
8. Hopaco Properties Limited – – 67,993,410(5) 22.25
9. Lee Choong Lim @ Lee Tin Fook – – 67,993,410(6) 22.25

One irate resident said he tried to contact Bolton using the email address on their webpage to inform them that their project is causing environmental damage and financial loss to nearby residents:

My post to Bolton failed. This Bursa Malaysia company does not give a damn and is uninterested to receive postings from the public despite advertising their address in their corporate webpage.

On Mon, 9/8/08, [email protected] <[email protected]> wrote:
From: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

Date: Monday, September 8, 2008, 2:36 AM

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

       [email protected]

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May i know if the flood and land slide issues /problem still exist now 2013- 2014 near Marina tower/ twin tower and coastal tower?

ahmad soffian

Hill Slopes development is considered as a gold mine by all major contractors. Cannot blame the present or past government or any other authority for allowing such projects.. For example, in Selangor, REHDA, “black mailed” the state government, if they could not erect anymore high rise on hill put it simply, If there are no developers, there will be no investment… and this will cause a detrimental effect on the state financial position…sooner or later, it will definitely effect the rakyat… In my opinion, we cannot ban hill slopes development absolutely, but we can make sure that these development… Read more »


Looking at these pics really making me sad and pissed off!!! Who to blame? Khoo, you should be kicked out long time ago, you just a puppet… let’s the umno controlled. I won’t blame new CM Lim, I will never ever, I know he is having really hard time that all … Khoo left behide. I always support you Mr Lim. I’m a resident of Straits Regency in Tg. Bungah, how to stop this Surin project, don’t tell me, CM Lim has to come out with big lump sum of compensation for the developer?! The developer and the council authorities… Read more »


Someone like goppal doesn’t get it.TBRA has been actively campaigning and trying to save hillslope erosion and most importantly lives.We would expect MPPP to possess integrity and not numbskull with no understanding of environmental preservation to allow greedy grasping developers to turn once green beautiful island into a hot concrete jungle.
Tourists who are attracted by the once naive charm of the island are now repelled by the concrete highrise blocks.


hello people, i’m not sure how are u people gonna take this… i have a question here, esp. to anilnetto , some NGOs and those who oppose development projects etc.. WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE , INSTEAD OF FINDING SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS , END UP BLINDLY AND PESSIMISTICLY OPPOSING DEVELOPMENT. SERIOUSLY.. WE , LOGICALLY , RATIONALLY AND WITH SOUND MIND SHOULD WELCOME DEVELOPMENT , NOT OPPOSE AND PROTEST AGAINST WHILE IGNORING AND LETTING EXISTING PROBLEMS TO CONTINUE. Be optimistic people… Penang’s land space is very limited and at the same time property demand is always high.. so hillslope development is a… Read more »


i hv been staying here in Tg Bunga for the past few years. Am owning 1 aprtments by developed Tm Ratu. And bought a over million landed property developed by the same developer. I dont see any problem at all. The person who took the pictures (the first picture aft the map) didnt not snapped the entire road. I dont denied there was a flood, but the flood was merely less than 3 meters width in its side to side dimension .. The photographer didnt DARE to snap the whole road as his complaint will to no avail. No doubt… Read more »

alex chan

In any country there is a need to balance development and nature preservation. And devt has to happen responsibly. Banning hillslope devt is not the answer – the answer is in a responsible and civic conscious devt. HK has many devt on hillslopes – same in other countries. But unfortunately in Msia, it is not the devt but the way it is being done that creates problems. Even non hillslope projects have also tumbled down in our country. So the answer lies in getting these developers to be more responsible and they will have to answer to these problems even… Read more »


Why need so many hillside developments and super condos? After all, at prices from 700K to 1.x mil those projects will be eventually priced out of reach for the average person. Who is going to stay there anyway? Foreigners?, investment only? They should focus on building affordable quality housing for the people.
Don’t spoil the beauty of Penang, especially Tg. Bungah. I was just commenting last week to my wife, that Tg. Bungah is fast turning into ‘Condo Alley’.


If the MPPP cant handle these cocnerns & grievances, write to the MP concerned, [email protected]
It’s time the new government govern the whole state effectively & listen to the concern of the people.

Approving Authority

Hi May,

The “Approving Authorities” are merely the politically appointed underlings doing the bidding of their political masters, the biggest of whom was in the Chief Minister’s Office for eighteen years and under whose tenure, all these approvals were given.

So go after the big boss and not the minnows if you are serious in wanting accountability.


To my mind, the Approving Authority for all these projects is a blur. Who? Who are these persons who have their hands in this pie? Their names must be published in the papers. Their faces too. I believe, in a tribe they will be tied up and hung from the trees! It is no use pointing the finger at these two words “Approving Authority”. Who each step of the process down to the receptionist gate-keeper! They must be held accountable, if not they will continue doing it as they have been doing for the last 30 years. Better still, sack… Read more »

Kah Seng

Penang Hill’s Viaduct Road is completely cut off by large landslides, especially around that mysterious whatever flower nursery. Worse because the tram repair now is going to be longer than “two” months.

See more Penang flood reports at


For us people living up in batu ferringhi,its frightening driving to and fro,lately asia green has build a retention wall by the road side to try and stop the mud from coming down,Please for goodness sake anil get someone to come and take some picture,that wall has got some crack,they try again to patch by pasteting with cement,it is not safe,i can assure it might collapes any time,
we now actually have got blue hills(all blue plastic) instead of green,it is sickening.I wonder when the state goverment is going to take action,ban them,


veyy sad about what is happening to tanjung bungah and all the way up to batu ferringhi,hill slopes developement have not been in control,
causing residents who are suffering ,due to all this greedy developers.Hill projects like Ivory homes,Asia Green are the culprits
Imagine over four years ago,the hill were beautifuly green ,the next day the whole HILL was being cut down . THE HILL WAS BOTAK OVERNIGHT,
We felt so sad,but what we can do,
Eversince then mud have been gushing down to the road, each time ,during a heavy downfall,


Have living in batu ferringhi for the past 35years,very sad about what is actually happening for this four stupid years we have been living in fear,wondering when the hills will gush down and bury people driving past,


Why so outdated thinking? Hong Kong manages hill side development wonderfully. After a few initial incidences, they took hold of the situations. The key word is proper implementation and enforcement. Penang Island does not have much land, so hill slope should be developed.


KongKor said: “Development is good but NOT at the expense of the good people who have stayed there for all their lives.” Let’s pause for a second and examine the first 3 words of your statement. “Development is good.” Reminds me of the Guinness slogan, “Guinness is good for you.” Or my mother’s constant reminder when I was a kid: “Milk is good for your bones.” These are memes that have been passed down from generation to generation until few question them anymore. I happen to be one of those few. When Mahathir declared war on nature with his utterly… Read more »


The reality is that once a development has been approved its next to impossible to stop it. The present government can only make sure the developer complies with the conditions that has been imposed on the developer when the development plans were approved by the local council. In the event you are concerned by an ongoing deveelopment, you may consider writing to your State Assemblyman, MP or even the CM. The CM can then direct Council to look into the development to ensure all conditions are being complied by the developer. As for new development, the State Government should ensure… Read more »

Anthony Tan

I think, we the affected property owners by the constant floods should start a working group to come out with a list of recommendations to the state government on this matter. It is pointless for all of us to say “Penang should stop all hillside development” as Penang is running out of land for development. Where are the new generation going to live? It is bad enough for the new generation having to put up with 650-750 sq ft of living space now . They not as lucky as their fathers that are able to owned landed property. Reclamation of… Read more »


ban? no… dont ban this and that when there’s a problem… from a environment/geotechnical engineer point of view… i think these hill developements are not the only bane of flash flood. We need to take more robust measures (a BIG part of it is maintainence) on the existing infrastuctures such as sewerage, rainwater pits and landscaping. I cannot stress more on landscaping as exposed sidewalks have a larger surface compared to the hill developements (although i think the amount of developement ongoing should be regulated due to the high rainfall nature and the stereotypical slumber type city council). So educate… Read more »


Ratu Mutiara has maximised every inch of land for the five projects — Twin Towers, Coastal Towers, Marina Towers, Regency Tower and now Waterfront. In each of these projects there is hardly any space for children at all! Where do the children play? They used to play badminton, kick ball, cycle and fly kite on the road (the one which was flooded). Now, of course the traffic is so heavy, it is no longer safe, and these poor children are now locked away in expensive pigeon holes entertaining themselves with computer games and game boys. At one time, the developer… Read more »


I just moved back from KL to my own house in Batu Ferringhi and each time I pass those hill slope development projects, I can only think of human greed and the stupidity of the previous state government for approving these projects. I do not know what to make of these projects but the muddy sea water tells me all is not right. When I see Koh Tsu Khoon in person I will insist he explains his decisions to me to my satisfaction before I let him go. He ruined my Penang.


dear anil,

this is terrible bro. the beauty of old Penang Island is lost. i suggest your gather the people of Penang and do what they can do best —>>> Demonstration!

Edmond R

Yes, it is not only happening in Tanjung Bungah, but along the Batu Ferringhi hill slope development projects too. Ivory Homes and Asia Green are the main culprits. They are just disasters waiting to happen. According to a foreigner, who is a former civil engineer, the lateral forces of the Ivory Homes slopes are too great to be contained by those paper thin walls they erected. I drive along that road 4 times a day and everytime I pass that stretch, I pray hard that it doesn’t come crashing down on me. The new state Government should order the Municipal… Read more »

Ipoh Mali

Our area in Ipoh was hit two weeks ago, whole factory and office and the whole surrounding area submerged in water. Already filed complaint with JPS and Local council till today no reply from them, as usual.

This was primarily cause by hillside development in the area cause whenever it rains the river water is muddy and brown in color.

The Pakatan MP show his face and was here during flood time and guess nothing is being carried out.

Well this is Malaysia, when something happen then only act or should I say show face only.