“People’s YB” backs Tg Bunga residents’ position

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Tanjung Bunga state assembly member, Teh Yee Cheu, says his position is simple: No cutting of steep hill slopes – Photos by Anil Netto

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Tanjung Bunga residents protesting at the bottom of the steep hill slope along Solok Tan Jit Seng

When the Tanjung Bunga protesters invited their elected rep, Teh Yee Cheu of the DAP, to say a few words at their “coffee party” yesterday, they introduced him as “the people’s YB”.

Teh walked up to the mike, and along the way, picked up a placard which read “No more Class 3 and 4 hill cutting”. Pointing to the placard, he told the residents that this was his position. It was clear that he was on the residents’ side and he told them to continue with their “parties”.

At Solok Tan Jit Seng, developer DynamicPro plans to build 25 three-storey town-houses on a hill-slope which residents claim has a gradient of over 65 degrees. That’s steep! (Class 3 is over 25 degrees and Class 4 over 35 degrees). The project site on the slope looks down on a row of houses, behind which stands the Tanjung Bunga school. Above the project site on the slope lies the precariously perched Pearl Hill apartments. Before the Appeals Board could decide on the residents’ concerns, several trees on the hill-slope were felled.

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The Pearl Hill apartments perched precariously above the project site.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was also invited, did not turn up. Instead, he made sure state exco member Phee Boon Poh, who recently assumed the environment portfolio, attended.

In contrast to Teh, Phee was more guarded when addressing the residents and said he would have to walk a “middle road” between the developers’ and the people’s interests and make an independent decision. He said if he openly sided with either party, he could be accused of corruption.

This prompted a disgusted placard-carrying protester to blurt out, “Political talk!” which Phee overheard. But the exco member remained non-committal, maintaining that the state government would need to consider all factors.

One resident, Ismail, said he was worried about the safety of the residents especially the children at the Tanjung Bunga school. Another resident told the state government reps to take back the message that the residents are not stupid. “Most of us voted for change on March 8 (last year) – you can ask the people here, many of them voted for the DAP – but we want to see change.”

Yet another resident said the issue of the state having to pay compensation to developers for projects terminated was a lame excuse. “There are ways and means of stopping these developers.” One of them suggested that the state authorities could impose tough restrictions on rock blasting and the height of retaining walls, making it all but impossible to proceed with the project. Or the state government could investigate how such a project was approved on such a steep hill slope in the first place.

Residents later took Phee for a tour of the area to show him how serious the Tanjung Bunga environmental problem is and some of the likely problems that could arise.

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The residents told Phee they worry another four high-rise apartment blocks could be coming up next to the existing four in Tanjung Bunga

Clearly, the state government will have to decide whose side they are on: the residents’ or the developers’ whose projects could pose a threat to public safety.  The residents, for their part, are not about to accept any dangerous or unsustainable development lying down.

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Nature.

Please update your comments. It is year 2011 and one doesn’t want to read comments dated a couple of years ago. I am sure many residents would have lots to say and your column has enabled them to have a say and keep the residents updated on the latest development.

Rachalle Sainsbury

Only an incompetent MPPP will keep on allowing hillside cutting for development.Anyone with humanity and integrity will not allow more developments on hillside. We recently attended the malaysian fest that promotes tourism to M’sia. If only tourists knew the hippocrisy and lies,tourists should be warned, they will be visiting a hot concrete jungle of condos, not the idyllic sun, sea and open green spaces of tanjung bungah hills.

George Aeria

Dear All, I am one of the residents in Tg. Bunga who is actively calling for the banning of construction on Dangerous Hill slopes throughout the State of Penang. Dangerous, we mean by building on hill slopes above 25 degrees, as stipulated by our Science & Environment Ministry Guidelines on Hill Slope Development issued out in 2002. They call it Class III (> 25 degrees) & Class IV (> 35 degrees). Class IV is deemed VERY Dangerous to construct any building Yes, many of us who were there are from Tg. Bunga as we are members of the TBRA or… Read more »

TBRA

TBRA has made representations to both the State Governments and the President of MPPP since 2006 and after March 2008 on the need to strictly control development on hill-slopes. We can only assume that the present government appears to endorse the policy of the previous government concerning hill-slope developments.

Approving Authorities

The MPPP councillors were all political appointees in the previous BN administration, the head of which was KTK.

Being a Chief Minister entails more than just enjoying the trappings of office and dishing out datukships.

It is totally disgraceful to simply put the blame on the architects and engineers of the MPPP.

At least, have the decency to ask the previous political leadership for some accountability.

looes74

lotsa_papayas, Acyually, it boils down to you & me. Are we going to accept policies seemingly good environmentally but hurting your pockets Starting with Rubbish a) Should you accept the rubbish collection to be based upon 1) weight 2) type of rubbish b) Would you support envirnmental tax to be imposed on areas that are detrimental to the environmental? Petrol is one of them b) Car population 1) Forcibly restrict car population with high taxes, toll charges & plenty of CBDs & R(a)s. 2) Would you accept driving cars during weekend? Lots of papayas, There are plenty policies that even… Read more »

Lim GL

It does not matter if the plans were approved before or after March 8, 2008. Koh Soo Koon or Lim Guan Eng does not approve the plans. The plans were approved by MPPP and they are the same people, before or after March 8, 2008.
The plans were reviewed by the engineering, building, planning, etc departments in MPPP, and the Heads of Departments, Architects, Engineers…are still the same people before and after March 8, 2008.

lotsa_papayas

The State Govt could be a lot more proactive and imaginative in formulating development policies. It is a known and foregone conclusion that we are losing our hills [see Google Earth!] at a rate that will soon doom our attractiveness as a tourist destination, not to mention quality of health for Penangites. These will be lost forever and ever, gone like the now-extinct dodo. The question is how do you force into place the mechanisms necessary to achieve what you know will benefit the State. If not now, in some years, sooner or later, the State Govt will have to… Read more »

white_papaya

Makes no difference if the participants at the “party” were mostly “outsiders”, as Lim GL called them. This addresses a broad issue. Though safety and human lives is on everybody’s minds, the benefits of an enlightened approach to development will benefit all Penangites. Witness the wanton destruction of our hills and green spaces. The only people who are objecting to this would be the developers, lured by the big bucks… never mind the social, environmental, ecological and psychological consequences. There is a limit to what our land can healthily sustain. LGE has not commented on why there is this vast… Read more »

lilian

I am a bit lost on this issue ‘cos I live in a poor area where it floods and floods and floods every single car of mine and hence, I don’t pay much attention to ‘rich people who choose to live on hill slopes for fengshui purpose’. Yeah, I am harsh but that’s my impression. But strange….have the condo or whatever housing project been bought by rich b……? What are their reasons? And then, to the first commentor khensthots, if there is no more land in Tanjung Bungah, of course, people have to move elsewhere and find another home. Certainly… Read more »

K

The very same people who spoke loudly against hillslope development now claim nothing can be done by LGE. Now they accuse people of being “kiasi”. Come on guys, if LGE can threaten Gamuda and demand for millions $$ why can’t he do something here ? … As for the Tanjung Bunga ADUN Teh, he should quit if he can’t help the residents for he has failed. These ADUNs got to understand that they are there to SOLVE problems and not join the residents in waving slogans. We don’t an ADUN to do it. This goes to show that these DAP… Read more »

EC

The variety of views is interesting but largely shows that people will believe what they want to believe, whether their views are supported by facts or not seem to be immaterial. First of all not every Tanjung Bungah resident live on hill-slopes, but many are willing to lend support to the move to call for rejecting development on STEEP hill slopes, whether they are in Tanjung Bungah, Paya Terubong, Bayan Lepas, Relau or anywhere else in the country. If you care for the environment, it doesn’t matter where you are.. one way or another, sooner or later you will be… Read more »

Plain Truth

Now where is that pathetic little eunuch who was responsible for all this?

Gave your party a miss, did he or did you guys simply forgot to invite him?

frankie

Go vote for BN. Show your muscle strength and see how far can that prevent any future landslide. We all know it is going to happen one day in future, just like the musical chair. The music is going to stop one day, so blame it on LGE and DAP.

What a bunch of loser you guys are.

Lim GL

I was at the protest and observed the following: 1. There were only 2 or 3 households from the immediate vicinity that was involved in the protest. They are the residents of Solok Tan JIt Seng. They are 8 or 10 households there but only 3 hoiuseholds turned up. 2. Not a single resident from Jln Tan Jit Seng, Geh Chong Keat, Ahmad bin Kasa, Haji Rafie, Marie Pitchay turned up 3. Not a single resident from Pearl Hill, houses on stilts turned up or if there is, only a pathetic few 4. No representative from tanjung Bungah School turned… Read more »

kangelar

Very likely that all taxes been paid to MPPP and state goverment will use to pay compensation to developers in Tanjong Bungah and UNESCO HERITAGE ZONE area. Maybe this is the change we voted for. In my opinion, Tanjong Bungah residents are very hypocrite because they are the owner of the some hill slope development condominiums. If you are so enviromentalist, then don’t buy these properties at the first place. No buyer means no demand for such property development. Come to next election, just vote for BN and your beloved UMNO. Let’s we bet whether you will get what you… Read more »

jody

Apart from safety issues, developers should study environmental effects of overdeveloping the slopes along our beautiful tourist belt. My friends who migrated years ago and returned were heartsick to find Tanjong Bungah and B.Ferringhi unrecognisable. There seems to be absolutely no control over the many houses and condominiums sprouting up along the drive to B.Ferringhi, and we Penangites have lost the idealic Island we knew as children. Development is good, but not when it is carried out by greedy developers who do not give a damn about the consequences. It was our hope (and still is) that with the DAP… Read more »

WhiteClouds

Purple Papaya’s comment leads me to wonder if the Developer has anything to lose at all should the project fail halfway due to “act of God” when the townhouses collapse onto the project?

Saro

Aiyoh, you call yourself Penangite! Please la if you do not have kampong to balik to, don’t hang around and buat malu to the real Penangites.

Your interest is 101 per cent self gain!

I have only one word to describe such TRIPOD initiatives. …

Expenangite

Sour Saro is blind to any penangites who has the opportunity to migrate, but still does not feel that it is right that any green lungs should be destroyed by inconsiderate developer. There is still flat land to develop where costs are lower, so why are developers cutting hill slope.Sour Saro obviously is a kampong folk who is a disgrace to himself for wanting to destroy the few remaining green lungs of Penang.

Roy

A friend told me that certain official in MPPP has houses in the vicinity — hmmm… I am wondering if the Surin cause championed by the Aerias has been hijacked to now become the Tan Jit Sing cause … then of course, stopping any hill side development is a step in the right direction for Penang.

Ong Eu Soon

Hi purple_papaya, Don’t worry! I already make a prediction about a six month long rainy season taking place in this Bolehland. The rain already started since March 5, the day I posted a special write-up on my blog on an impending disaster. The land is getting wet and heavy as days passed by. Five more months to go. If I am wrong you guys can laugh at me…. I will make sure LGE receive an urgent alert requesting his immediate attention. I can tell you guys now that I already start monitoring signs for potential landslide, if there is any… Read more »

looes74

Papaya, The compensation plus puntive one can runs up with that half Billion. Plus, you got to pay for the lawyers. I mean the other side. Do you know how much the revenue LGE government collected last year? 300 million Malaysian dollars. It’s cheaper & more effective to go after the buyers. No buyers, seller would close shop. Which bring back to these suggestions? Raise development fees for the developer. Impose environmental fee. Raise quit rent & assessment for those people staying at the slopes. Enforce rules for buyer to buy exorbitant insurance. Better still ask them to sign indemnity… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Who on planet earth dare to approve development on a hillslope with a gradient of over 65 degrees? No doubt, it is our ex-CM, Koh Tsu Koon. There (could have been some) hanky-panky going on…. The case is on the appeal board, the appeal board has the final say, no one can sue it. Why fool around your political future and let Umno’s crony reap the benefit? For all those hard-core partisan supporters go to Hell! If someone to blast a boulder less than 50 meter away from your home, you think it is acceptable. I would like to invite… Read more »

pink_papaya

What’s happened to the super dept of hillslope experts that LGE announced he was setting up, to be modelled after Hong Kong? Hong Kong spends half a billion per year maintaining the program. LGE will find it’s much cheaper to just pay out the compensations.

purple_papaya

Always, some lame-duck, unintelligent comment saying residents of hillslopes must move out if they’re not happy… That doesn’t address the issues in the least. Actually, I think the developer of that project along Solok Tan Jit Seng is equally stupid. Look at the townhouses perched above… would you want to buy any unit on the slopes directly below these?! Perception is everything; whether or not the units are stable, whether or not the slopes can be safely cut, retained and built upon, are immaterial. It will take a long, long time before people can forget Highland Towers and Bukit Antarabangsa.… Read more »