Gerakan upset over limits set to view hillslope documents

Penang Gerakan today claimed to have received many complaints from the people over the conditions and restrictions imposed by the state government for viewing declassified documents on hillslope development.

Its local government bureau chief, Teh Leong Meng, said Penang Gerakan found out from the state government that, among other things, the people must make an appointment with the council's development planning department, are given 90 minutes to view the documents, are restricted to a group of five persons, and are required to give their complete information.

Last Thursday, State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairperson Chow Kon Yeow said the public could view all documents relating to hillslope development on the island from next Monday.

The state government also said that all relevant documents pertaining to projects involving land above 250ft from 2006 onwards would be declassified.

Time limit unreasonable

Teh said it was unreasonable to set a time limit on viewing the documents as they were complicated and that imposing restrictions would discourage people from viewing them.

"We urge the state government, if it is sincere in declassifying the documents, not to impose any condition and restriction. Give people a free hand to study the documents," he told a press conference.

Teh said declassification meant that the documents were no longer private and confidential and people had the right to view them without any condition and restriction.

Meanwhile, Penang Gerakan legal and human rights bureau head Baljit Singh said it had set an appointment to view the documents on Monday and was prepared to buy the documents.

He challenged the state government to declassify the documents sincerely if it subscribed to CAT (competency, accountability and transparency).





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