Residents want MBPP, Penang gov't to explain hill clearing at Batu Gantung

GEORGE TOWN: Residents at Jalan Batu Gantung here want the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the state government to explain if the hill clearing activity near Batu Gantung adheres to the standard operating procedure (SOP) or regulations.

Citizens Awareness Chant Group advisor Yan Lee said he had received a lot of complaints from residents who are worried that a landslide could recur in a similar way to the one that killed 11 workers on Saturday at Tanjung Bungah.

The residents are concerned about the hill clearing activity on a hillslope close to the Penang Turf Club that had been going on for over a year, despite numerous complaints from concerned non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the local authority.

Lee also questioned whether the mixed development project on the foot of the hill had obtained the approval from the local and federal authorities, especially on the hill clearing.

"Hill clearing activity near Batu Gantung here has been going on since early last year and no action has been taken even though a report has been lodged.

"The view from Jalan Jesselton on the hill is very ugly as the slope looks very steep and without any plastic covering the hillslope, what will happen to the hillslope when its rains? They are risking the lives of the workers who are working on the construction site," he told reporters here.

He said it was reported that the Batu Gantung project was approved in 2015, but MBPP had issued a warning letter to the developer on October 2016 on the hill clearing activity.

"Now, we are questioning why the project is still allowed to go on despite a warning letter has been issued? Action should be taken by MBPP against the developer if they continue to act against the law," he said.

"It is time that the local council look at all the hill clearing projects in the state to avoid any untoward incidents," he said.

In Saturday's incident, a landslide in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah killed 11 workers, including a Malaysian, at the base of an affordable housing project of a 50-storey building, which had not received Department of Environment (DOE) approval. — Bernama