Penang Gerakan calls for moratorium on all hillside developments

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan has called on the state government to impose a moratorium on all hill slope developments in Penang above the stipulated ecological and safety thresholds.

Central Legal and Human Rights Bureau chairman Datuk Baljit Singh also expressed scepticism on Lim’s plan to set up a state level investigation committee to look into the landslide.

He said the tragedy again exposed the severity of the overdevelopment and irresponsible governance by the DAP-led Penang state government.

Baljit said despite repeated warnings from environmentalists, residents’ associations, and even DAP Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Chau, these warnings were left unheeded by the Penang government.

“It is saddening and exasperating to learn that the landslide tragedy could have been avoided if only the DAP-led Penang state government had not ignored repeated warnings from concerned groups since more than two years ago, Lim’s reply claiming it was a ‘worksite accident’ is far from convincing,” lamented Baljit.

"I agree with the call to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the landslide incident. It is to ensure a full and fair investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. In the meantime, the Penang government must impose a moratorium on all hill slope developments," he said in a statement today.

Parti Cinta Malaysia Datuk Huan Cheng Guan wants representatives from federal agencies and non-governmental organisations to be included in the Inquiry Commission.

He said both parties should be included to ensure a transparent investigation.

"No point if only representatives from state government are involved in the commission. Zero percent trust, I do not trust it one bit!

"No need to include me or other political representatives, they would be enough," said Huan.

Huan lamented that the state authorities should not have approved the 50-storey high housing project.

There was a bald patch above the construction site and a quarry further up the same hill.

He said there should be a 200m buffer zone for the project, according to federal government guidelines.

"Is this 200 metres, I don't think so. It looks quite close," he added.





Follow @partigerakan