Penang to take preventive measures for hillside projects

The Penang government will take preventive measures including issuing stop-work orders for hillside developments in the wake of the landslide tragedy that killed at least three people at Bukit Antarabangsa, Selangor, early Saturday morning.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Saturday he would personally request Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Zainal Rahim Seman view and inspect the hillside areas again, especially those in Batu Ferringhi.

“About three to four months ago, the council had issued stop-work orders against developers of five hillside projects for failing to comply with certain conditions imposed by the council.

“That order was recently lifted after the developers concerned had carried out remedial works on the land,’’ he told reporters at a press conference after the two-day “New Economic Vision for Penang and Malaysia’’ international forum here.

He was commenting on the landslide tragedy at Bukit Antarabangsa which left three dead and 15 people injured (as of 3pm Saturday).

Lim expressed shock over the incident and extended his condolences to those who had lost their family members in the tragedy.

He said so far there have been no other problems concerning hillside development projects in Penang but “this doesn’t mean there won’t be any’’.

He said the issue was not about landslides occurring at hillslopes but what was important was achieving sustainable development, which was to use resources in a manner that it would still be available in the future.

“Achieving sustainable development should be the benchmark in any development that takes place,’’ he said.

Zainal Rahim when contacted said the council’s inspection included hillsides where no development was taking place.

“The council inspects all hillside development projects and hilly areas including those in Balik Pulau and Teluk Kumbar every week without fail and a report is submitted to the Chief Minister,’’ he said.

He added that at the moment, the development at hillsides were under control and developers were complying with the council’s conditions.

“If any developer is found to have flouted any condition, a stop-work order is issued immediately until they take remedial measures such as taking care of the slope or building a retention pond is done,’’ he said.

Zainal Rahim said the council also wrote letters to owners of hilly lands to notify them of any irregularities on their land.


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