More than half of hill slope projects on Penang island illegal

There are 124 projects on hill land with slopes of 25° and above 250ft (76m) on Penang island.

Of the number, 56 are approved projects and 68 are projects without a permit from the local authorities, state local government exco Chow Kon Yeow (DAP-Padang Kota) said today to an oral question from Dr T. Jalabalan (PKR-Batu Uban) at the state legislative assembly.

The PKR lawmaker had asked for a list of projects approved by the Penang Island Municipal Council (MBPP) to be built on slopes of 25° gradient and above on the island since 2008, as well as the number of illegal hill clearings.

Chow said action taken against illegal hill land projects include stop work orders under the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974; getting the landowner to submit mitigation plans to rehabilitate the cleared areas; covering the exposed hill slopes with geotextile fabrics or grass; and taking the responsible parties to court.

He also supplied the lists of approved and illegal projects as well as details of the developments.

Most of the projects were approved in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Over the three years, MBPP gave 34 projects the nod.

Among the approved projects since 2008 are five apartment blocks on Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Paya Terubong by Lembaman Development Sdn Bhd; five 38-storey apartments and carpark and retail buildings on Lebuhraya Halia in Tanjung Bungah by Ivory Villas Sdn Bhd; and a 31-storey apartment, clubhouse and villas on Jalan Bukit Gambiar in Paya Terubong by Affin-i Goodyear Sdn Bhd.

Other approved projects also include over 100 units of terrace and town houses by Palmex Ind Sdn Bhd on Jalan Kenari; and 570 units of houses and condos on Persiaran Kelicap by Sunway City Sdn Bhd. Both projects are in Sungai Ara.

Meanwhile, illegal hill clearing activities occurred on Penang Hill in areas zoned as hill, agricultural, state park, general housing and low density housing, commercial and local planning area land, and were undertaken by private landowners and companies.

Development on hill slopes is a touchy issue in Penang, especially among civil groups and environmentalists. The state imposes stringent guidelines on such projects. - The Malaysian Insider

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