‘Permanent ban on developers who destroy hills’

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan wants the state government to permanently ban developers who destroy hills and forest land.
Its secretary Oh Tong Keong said directors of these companies should also be banned for good from any future development projects in Penang.
He said the current court fines had proven to be inadequate to deter these unscrupulous developers from “raping our beautiful hills”.
He challenged the Pakatan Rakyat state government to be courageous to blacklist errant companies involved in illegally clearing forest land.
Section 70A (1) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 for such offences.
“The fine is a ‘drop of water in a ocean’ for developers,” he said.
He urged the local municipalities to use Sections 19 and 26 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1976 to prosecute these errant developers.
Under Section 26(1), developers found guilty can be slapped with a maximum RM500,000 fine, or two years imprisonment, or both.
Oh also referred to Section 52A of TCPA, which states that a company director, manager, secretary or other similar staff, should be held accountable.
“The Current legislation is no longer sufficient to curb illegal clearing of Penang’s forests.
“A permanent ban can effectively curb raping and destruction of our hill and forest lands,” Oh told FMT today.
He said the recent balding of Bukit Relau in Gelugor and Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong by developers had mocked the state government’s slogan of ‘Cleaner Greener Penang.’
Oh said relevant authorities, besides issuing stop work order, should demand developers to restore the cleared land to its previous position.
He noted Penang is now left with about 15% of forests, of which only 9% is classified as reserved forest lands.
He said the state government should call for a public hearing and commission an independent environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on all future developments involving environmentally sensitive land in Penang.

“The state government is responsible to protect the ecological needs, especially the endangered species,” Oh said.

Source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2014/07/10/permanent-ban-on-developers-who-destroy-hills/





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