Photos by a concerned Tanjung Bunga resident
While the Penang state government seems to be taking a firm stand in the High Chaparral crisis, the village isn’t the only hot potato around. Residents in Tanjung Bunga want the administration to take a similar firm stand against work on unapproved lots in Tanjung Bunga.
Five individuals from the Tanjung Bunga Residents Association and the Chee Seng Action Committee attended a meeting with Penang state exco member Phee Boon Poh on 20 July. The residents are willing to accept a scaled-down version of the project on the approved lot, but they want all “stabilisation” work on unapproved lots to be stopped until a geotech report on how to stabilise the steep hill-slopes is ready.
One of the residents reports on the outcome of the meeting:
The hill has been cut and there is no way to just leave it in that manner. The developer has asked the state exco to allow them to carry on development and remedial work on the slopes of all the lots before the September 2009 rains.
Our position is – NO. No work can be allowed on the lots that are outside the geotech report as this amounts to blackmail i.e. deliberately doing work on lots outside the geotech report when the developer is not supposed to and when we find out and report, there is now a stop work order on those lots. So what the developer does now is frighten us by saying the rains will come soon and that there is a possibility of a land-slide.
Our point is those lots – and the whole project – should not have been touched in the first place. As it now is entirely a Class IV slope today, we have stated that we want those lots to be properly covered during the rains and no work to continue on those lots at all, since it is outside the geotech report and there is no MPPP approval to develop those lots (4165, 4166 and 4188) until the MPPP approves via another geotech report on the stability of those lots and how best to stabilise these lots.
The developer is told to nail down the slopes – an additional condition instead of just planting grass or cementing the slopes.
Lot 4189 – work still goes on this lot i.e. the lot where the developer (GLM) has MPPP approval to develop. Blasting is ongoing by the developer only on these lots.
MPPP is asked to carry out better and closer monitoring. (God and MPPP willing, this may happen since they have a new YDP – but we are not holding our breath-lah as their reputation among the residents is “kaput” or “koyak”.)
The residents’ position can be summarised as follows:
Since Chee Seng Hill is already cut so badly – and yes, we have reluctantly agree to proceed with the project – since the height of the apartments will forever be a potential danger to all existing residents should the slope move in the future, the TBRA and Chee Seng Action Committee calls for the project to be scaled down to five storeys only.
No work on any other unapproved lots until there is another geotech report on the other lots (4165, 4166 & 4188) on how best to stabalise the slopes there.
Determine who and how the now Class IV slope will be maintained and stability ensured in the years to come now that MPPP has approved this project years ago and now has caused the slope to be a potential danger forever to long-time residents.
And most importantly, the TBRA and the Chee Seng Action Committee against Dangerous Hill-slope Development again calls for an immediate stop to all future hill-slope development in Penang on slopes classified as Class III and Class IV.
Phee has taken down our requests and we hope that he will put it forward to both the MPPP and the State Exco. We wait patiently for some positive development.