Residents' association surprised state govt allowed housing project

GEORGE TOWN: The Tanjung Bungah Residents' Association is surprised to learn that the housing project site that was hit by a landslide and claimed 11 lives on Saturday, had been rejected by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

In this regard, its chairman R. Meenakshi questioned why the municipal council and the state government had allowed the project to get off the ground.

"It shows that the voice of the developer is louder than the interest of the people in the state. It is daunting that the law can be easily ignored, this would have a bearing on our future," she told reporters here today.

Meenakshi who is also Penang Consumers Association and Persatuan Sahabat Alam Malaysia's legal advisor, said the Penang State Structure Plan 2007-2020 clearly stated that Tanjung Bungah had been gazetted as a secondary development corridor that only allowed construction of 15 units of public houses per acre.

She said the guideline might not have been followed, judging by the several high-rise housing development structures in many areas of Tanjung Bungah.

"This is outrageous, they ignored the Jabatan Alam Sekitar and the structure plan ... this is incredibly serious and this is not how the authority must behave.

"This is a legal issue because if the government which is supposed to follow the law did not follow, then who is going to follow the law. The state government and the municipal council must be responsible," she said.

Meanwhile Penang Forum member, Dr Lim Mah Hui who was also at the press conference, disagreed with the Chief Minister's statement that the landslide was a worksite accident.

He said the state government, municipal council, developer and even the contractor must bear responsibility for the incident.

"It is not like the workers did not wear their safety helmet or the crane fell down, this is a landslide ... ," he said.

He also urged the state government, municipal council and the developer to pay adequate compensation to the families of the victims. — Bernama