George Aeria writes to Penang state government exco members Chow Kon Yeow and Phee Boon Poh to highlight the residents’ deep concerns about property development projects on steep hill slopes in their area.
Dear YB Chow and YB Phee
TBRA notes the press article in The Star (25 June 2009) with some concern as it only talks about rectifying the steep slopes and that TBRA has not heard of any other measures to be taken despite the submissions of memorandums, letters, police reports and other meetings with state government officials from February to June 2009.
We have written officially to our state government via YB Phee and the City Council (several times – be it through our memorandum and other letters, besides police reports) stating the following:-
- That the geotechnical report is either defective (as the geotechnical report covers only Lot 4189 while land development work is ongoing on at least three other lots i.e. Lot 4165, 4166, and 4188), OR
- That MPPP is so slipshod or allegedly corrupt that there is no control over the land development work to the point where an NGO like TBRA has to come in to inform the MPPP of the land development work on the other plots
- That MPPP is not able to enforce its stop work order in May and early June 2009 with ongoing blasting work still occurring. Proof via photograph available and will be made known shortly.
- That MPPP has not monitored the work site well thus causing floods, flying rock, dengue outbreak, the removal of soil/earth from site.
- That MPPP should not have approved this project in the first place as it is in contravention of the June 2002 guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Science and the Environment.
To date, we have not received any response from our CAT state government. If at all you declare your state government to be transparent, then perhaps an official reply to address our residents concerns via our memorandum in April and our subsequent letter to you on 2 June 2009 should be forthcoming.
Just addressing the steep slopes is like giving medication to a patient for dengue without resolving the bigger issue of the source of the dengue.
TBRA expects that work to stabilise the now very steep and Class IV hill-slope is to be done. However, the larger issues still persist and must be addressed failing which this error against nature and the residents will occur again and again. Stabilising the slopes is the responsibility of the developer and City Council (which approved the project in the first place). It is not something we should be grateful for. It is their job to get it done. Do it quickly before it slides down and kills residents.
Thereafter, we reiterate that the issues at hand today as clearly seen via the dangerous hill slope projects such as those like Bolton Surin, Ivory, Solok Tan Jit Seng, and Diamond Villa are:-
- a complete and total ban of all Class III and Class IV hill-slopes in Penang, and a declaration by our CAT DAP State Government accordingly. WALK YOUR TALK.
- that action be taken against the people in MPPP who have failed in their duties in approving these dangerous type of projects (e.g using the Bolton Surin as a case study)
- that action be taken against the people in MPPP who have failed to monitor and stop the transgressions into the other lots (e.g. using Bolton Surin as a case study)
- that action be taken against the people in MPPP who have failed to properly monitor the project to the point of causing distress to residents – floods, flying rocks, dengues etc.
- what happens after the developer moves away? Who monitors and maintains that now Bolton and MPPP-caused slope in Chee Seng Gardens which is now so steep – class IV?
- will MPPP be managed better, and if so, what measures have been put in place (call it SOPs, if you like) so that the grave error of approving steep and dangerous hill-slopes stops once and for all?
We will appreciate a response from our CAT State Government by tomorrow (26 June 2009) as we have not received any formal reply from our state government since we submitted the memorandum and our petitions to YB Phee (and YB Chow and CM, via YB Phee) at the State Assembly on 27 April 2009 and our subsequent letter dated 2 June 2009. Should we still not receive an official response, TBRA will take whatever other action deemed necessary to highlight this matter in the press (on the inaction of our state government) as well as to make a report of possible corruption to the MACC regarding the manner in which the MPPP approved this and other similar potentially dangerous hillslope projects.
George Aeria is the chairman of the Tanjung Bunga Residents Association
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