Quarry work and hillslope earthworks by Penang Development Corporation (PDC) near Kampung Masjid in Batu Kawan, south Seberang Prai, are making life miserable for villagers in the area.
The walls of their homes are cracking, and wildlife such as snakes, monkeys and wild boars are being driven out of the hill and into the village, they claimed.
Resident Ramlah Md Akib, 66, said the hill had become a slope of bare rocks and the animals had lost their habitat.
“Monkeys and snakes often enter our houses. We frequently see wild boars in our village too,” she said.
She said work began in 2008 and had intensified in the last two years.
Federal Village Security and Development Committee chairman Abdul Halim Othman said villagers began worrying when the walls of some of the 44 houses began cracking.
“Vibrations from the quarry’s rock-blasting caused the cracks, and the contractor came to do only minor repairs. When it rains, muddy water will flow through our village and the air is dusty on dry days,” he said.
Abdul Halim said villagers were worried that soil erosion could cause rocks to topple from the hill which was close to their homes.
Another resident Saniyah Hussain, 47, said she was disappointed that PDC did not consult the villagers before starting the works.
She claimed that residents had met the contractor, PDC Nusabina Sdn Bhd, to discuss compensation but it was not fulfilled.
“We signed an agreement in December that we would be paid RM100 compensation a month per house for the dust they caused.
“But they did not pay regularly. They came to look at the cracks and patched them only on the surface and repainted the walls.”
A check by The Star revealed that the hilltop had been cleared of trees, and piles of rocks could be seen on the peak.
When contacted, Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said she visited both the quarry and hillslope work site earlier this year with the local authorities and was told that the projects adhered to necessary specifications.
“These projects lay the path for more developments in the future. I will meet the villagers soon to understand their concerns and see how I can help,” she said. - By The Star