Penang govt maintains stringent procedures on hillside developments: Exco

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has always maintained stringent procedures for any approval regarding hillside development and prohibits such development beyond 76m, said state Exco for Housing and Town and Country Planning, Jagdeep Singh Deo (pix).

He said it had rejected 11 applications for high-rise schemes exceeding its stringent guidelines of 76m.

He said the federal government's guidelines on the subject allowed hillside development up to 300m.

He said at least 28 high-rise projects on hillside above 76m were given the green light by the previous administration particularly from 1985 to 2008.

He was perplexed as to why federal agency submitted applications above the state's guidelines as it should know better.

"If all of us can comply then why can't the federal (side) adhere to it," he asked at a press conference after conducting a spot check at the affordable housing project site in Teluk Kumbar.

On early Saturday morning, 11 victims comprising a Malaysian site supervisor, and 10 foreigners were buried alive in a landslide.

A state commission of inquiry has since been mooted to investigate the tragedy.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has given his assurance that the investigation will proceed.

Jagdeep refuted claims made by unscrupulous parties that the project in Tanjung Bungah was a hillslope development as totally untrue.

He clarified it was built on a flat land of 40m and not as being alleged by certain quarters.

"No such thing," he said, adding the state would not compromise on the safety at worksites and of buildings, even if the projects are low or medium cost housing.

Jagdeep also assured that the state will ensure developments will comply with all technical requirements.

"I will continue to conduct spot checks on the progress of all project sites." he added.