Calls for Penang to review existing projects following landslide

20 Oct 2018 / 18:41 H.

GEORGE TOWN: A former PKR parliamentarian has urged the state government to hit the pause button on its development policies and to review existing projects following two landslides here in the last 12 months.
Yusmadi Yusoff, the former PKR Balik Pulau MP and the present coordinator for the party's international bureau affairs, said that present development policies were ill-suited for the era of sustainability and climate change.
"What had worked in the past may not necessarily be effective now. In the new millennium, we want development which benefit the masses, not a select few."
He was referring to the latest tragedy where, as of 3pm today, four foreign construction workers including a Myanmar woman were buried alive in a landslide which swallowed up their colony of nine containers.
Three more of their peers remain missing as 123 rescuers continue to comb the site.
The site was at the Bukit Kukus area while the project was a paired elevated bypass highway which links Bandar Baru Air Itam with Bukit Jambul through the hilly forest covering of Paya Terubong.
"There are a spate of incidents which should be a veiled warning to Penang to adjust their policies and move towards a humane form of development where the core values are about a balanced policy rather than physical development.
"I echo what (incoming) PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim spoke recently about sustainable development where the core values are about humanity, about conserving the environment instead of exploiting it and of a shift towards a higher skills education policy instead of just land clearing," said Yusmadi.
However, Penang Gerakan veteran Wong Mun Hoe said that it is not about the policy, but the monitoring on the ground of sensitive projects such as those in hilly terrain, reclamation and coastal development.
Wong said that the people voted in a government, whose leaders claimed to be competent, but they have yet to display such attributes in Penang.
PAS' Penaga assemblyman Yusni Mat Piah said that the Islamist party has consistently fought against the degradation of the environment.
"We will ask for a comprehensive investigation to be launched and a halt to any planning for the execution of the Penang Transport Master Plan, pending a reassurance that the safety standards will be upheld."
Yusni said that next month's state legislative assembly sitting would be an exciting affair as the Opposition wants answers as to how the state was coping with the magnitude of approving many development projects.

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