IJM hill clearing & Trehaus construction damaged nearby houses since 2014 must be mitigated quickly!


Behind BJ Cove houses at Lintang Bukit Jambul 1 is an IJM Trehaus Project.
Approximate Coordinates : 5°20’38.47″N,100°16’52.82″E
Reported  in August 2016. Photos taken in November 2016 and 2014 by Penang Forum
PHW Report

 

https://hillclearinginpenang.ushahidi.io/views/map

Sources: Penang Hills Watch (PHW) | Penang Forum

Hill clearing activity by IJM Trehaus Project


Clearing and construction for a condo and semi-detached housing
project, Trehaus, reported in http://anilnetto.com/ 26 Aug 2016. Photo
taken in 2014 …
IJM sign-boards
Behind BJ Cove houses at Lintang Bukit Jambul 1 is an IJM Trehaus Project.

Two invalid pipe culverts formed sinkholes at BJ Cove houses

Originally, there were two natural rivers/streams from the IJM Trehaus site and a nearby pond. No proper drainage system was implemented when housing development started, only two invalid hidden underground pipe culverts were built to channel the waters from the Bukit Jambul hill to Relau district.

 

The invalid underground pipe culvert from the IJM Trehaus project directly converged at BJ Cove houses from another invalid underground  pipe culvert from a nearby pond were burst, caused soil erosion, house slabs collapsed, multiple wall cracks, PBA water pipe burst, floods, sinkholes (by two pipe culverts converged in red) and damaged  to  BJ Cove houses due to blockages of waters whenever rains and because of lack of drainage system there.  The sinkhole which later converted into a manhole by IJM,  is a clear sign of soil erosion under the ground.

 

Underground Pipe Culverts from IJM Trehaus site on the left and nearby pond on the right

It is a common sense that waters from the natural rivers or streams are natually running, seeped  through underground even the surface is covered by land-filled soil or with man made culverts.

 

Therefore, damages to houses were caused by severe soil erosion due to water movement under the road and buildings. 

 

The following is an invalid underground pipe culvert from the IJM Trehaus site behind BJ Cove houses at Lintang Bukit Jambul 1:

IJM modifying/constructing their underground pipe Culvert in 2014 to BJ Cove Houses

IJM modifying/constructing their underground pipe Culvert in 2014 to BJ Cove Houses

IJM Underground Pipe Culvert to BJ Cove Houses

 

IJM Underground Pipe Culvert to BJ Cove Houses
Waters gushing down from IJM Trehaus site to BJ Cove houses:
Waters flow from IJM Trehaus to BJ Cove houses

 

Waters gushing down from IJM Trehaus site to BJ Cove houses

Waters from IJM site stucked at behind BJ Cove houses

The nearby pond besides IJM Trehaus site:

IJM Hill cutting and hill Clearing 2014

Serious Drainage Issues

The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID or JPS) has just started in September 2017 constructing the drain from the pond to divert waters:
A drain under construction by JPS to divert waters from the nearby pond
Drain waters flow plan under construction by JPS to divert waters from the nearby pond

 

 Letter from Penang Dept of Irrigation and Drainage (DID or JPS) in 2015 blamed IJM  failure to comply with sedement control plan (ESCP) when its Trehaus started in 2014.

 

Clearly, the underground pipe culverts leaked and waters seeped through the  ground and multiple cracks,  as it did not happen immediately but over a period of time!

 

Developers dishonored directives/letters issued by Penang City Council (MBPP – Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang) in 2015 to rectify the damaged house

 

Developers have not honored their committments to rectify the damages despite  acknowledged their liability as per letters from Worldwide Venture Sdn Bhd, an subsidiary of IJM Land since 2014!

 

Despite the underground pipe culverts declared invalid by JPS and the Penang City Council’s (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, i.e. MBPP) issued stop work orders directing the developers, Worldwide Venture Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of IJM Land to rectify the damages within 1 and 2 weeks time since 2015 (as per the above attached letters), multiple wall cracks, slabs collapsed, PBA water pipes burst, leakage charges, damaging ceiling, electrical DB board, and tiles fallen, broken/popped up,  are still pending settlement and remedial works to be carried out by parties responsible for the damages since 2014 !!

 

IJM Land only started in December 2017 constructing new drainage to divert waters from Trehaus Site to the pond:

Pictures show IJM only started in December 2017 constructing drainage system to divert waters to the nearby pond

 

It is important that the pond should be made a Dried pond instead of existing wet pond on the following reasons:

i) The area was originally a natural river/stream where waters will
still be naturally running, seeped through underground even when the
underground culverts are to be closed/abandoned later.

 

ii) More waters are being diverted from the IJM site to the pond

 


However, damaged houses are still pending, not being rectified to date !

Damages appeared after IJM began construction works in 2014, like hill clearing, rock-blasting, piling and digging culvert at Trehaus site.  As a result, sinkholes appeared, floods, waters seepage through multiple cracks on the ground, walls, tiles fallen from roofs and popped up from the ground due to vibration from rock-blasting and piling for the building.


Sinkhole converted to manholes (2 in cycles) at BJ Cove houses are visible from the top of IJM Trehasu site

Pictures showing floods, sinkholes at Lintang Bukit Jambul 1, 11900 Penang,  damaged to BJ Cove houses, cracks, waters leakages seeped through the cracks, slabs collapsed, ceilings & tiles broken & fallen, electrical DB board explosion, etc caused by severe soil erosion due to water movement under the road and buildings. The underground pipe leaked and waters seeped through the cracks!

Sinkhole at BJ Cove house no. 20
IJM converted the sinkhole into a manhole waters from their underground pipe culvert at Trehaus

 

Sinkhole at house 20 is covered up by IJM’s underground pipe culvert from  IJM Trehaus
IJM converting the sinkhole at BJ Cove no. 20

 

 

Truths Be Told:

 The truths be told,  as echoed, reinforced and justified by recent events in  Penang floods on 15th Sept 2017,  Landslides in Tanjung Bungah on 21 October 2017, the storm on Nov 4 & 5 2017, floods again on Jan 5, 2018 …. see more on links to following reports:

https://youtu.be/ooyXvqmxbvw GEORGE TOWN: Some 20 houses located on a slope in Hong Seng Estate in Mount Erskine were flooded due ..

Hills, landslides, floods and damaged houses …

Penang landslides & flooding are natural disasters man-made…  

Penang floods and landslides, looking beyound natural causes!

Penang landslide, whose faults?

Penang Paya Terubong Residents living under shadow of fear!

Penang landslide tragedy, why it happened?  


PAC blamed Penang Island City Council (MBPP) for failing to enforce laws on hillside development

 

We demand immediate enforcement & Actions:

 

1. The parties responsible must quickly without further delays, without condition to settle the claims and start the remedial works to the damaged houses, as both JPS has declared underground pipe culverts invalid and  MBPP has  issued stop work orders directed the  developers, Worldwide Venture Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of IJM Land to rectify the damages within 1 and 2 weeks time since 2015!

 

2. Enforce IJM’s & MBPP’ Letters/Stop-work Orders (attached in above), and divert waters from the two invalid underground pipe culverts deemed illegal at the IJM Trehaus site and nearby ponds which must be closed and grouted as a long term solution to the problems. 

 

3. Enforce a fresh cease and desist to Stop Work of IJM Trehaus
construction project until the structural damages to house at 20
Lintang Bukit Jambul 1, BJ Cove have been resolved and settled the claim for damages and distress caused by the fear and danger of living in the house, without further delays and their suffering more than four years since 2014.  Repairs and remedial works must start promptly as more damages and suffering will fellow!

 

4. Beef up the enforcement and accountability not just in government agencies but also in professional bodies, like the Board Of Engineers Malaysia (BEM),  the Institute of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), etc to uphold the professional ethics, integrity and standards, to ensure public safety of the buildings and people life.

 

5. The pond must be made a Dried pond for waters to flow out smoothly, because there was originally two natural rivers/streams in the area where waters will still be running/seeping through naturally under the ground even if two culverts are closed as more waters are diverting from IJM Trehaus site to the pond. 

Findings from Penang Forum 

Dr Kam, a scientist, focused on expansion of impermeable surface area (caused by ill­ planned development and replacing natural ground cover such as hills, fields and trees that act as a water ­absorbing sponge) and soil erosion and landslides (caused by cutting and development in hill areas) as two factors that need special attention. She quoted Datuk Kam U Tee, the Penang Water Authority general  manager (1973~­90), as having correctly explained the Penang floods of October
2008, as follows: the floods were caused by conversion of the Paya Terubong and Bayan Baru valleys into “concrete aprons that do not retain water. The water immediately flows into streams causing flash floods even with moderate rainfall. Because of hill­cutting activities, the flowing water causes erosion of the slopes which carries mud and silt into the river beds”. ( The Star, Oct 24, 2008).


See more  ….   Penang floods and landslides, looking beyound natural causes!

Credits – Slides presented by Environmental, health and safety consultant Aziz Noor, and scientist Dr Kam Suan Pheng at the Penang Forum event on Oct 29, 2017

See more ….

Practise true CAT for Sustainable Development

  • Penang government must provide a COMPETENT flood mitigation plan for the state starting with a comprehensive Drainage Master Plan Study and not slogan.

  • The Penang government has to be ACCOUNTABLE to the people and not private developers. In other words, ‘Politicians should be ‘wakil  rakyat’ and not ‘wakil pemaju’. If certain waterways and catchment areas have to be gazetted as permanent drainage and storage areas, then so be it.

  • The safety and well-being of the Rakyat has to come first.  In the
    interest of  TRANSPARENCY, Penang has to launch an inquiry into how the local council approved property developments on slopes
    without adequate slope protection.

 See more …

1. Wanted: Leaders who listen !

2. Sustainable Development in Penang

3. Call to reassess Penang hillside projects, councillor addresses full council meeting of MBPP

4. Penang landslide, whose faults?

 

Related Links:

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Penang MP rapped for asking for allocation while rejecting Budget …

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RM150mil for flood mitigation projects – The Star Online

 

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//players.brightcove.net/4405352761001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5635768537001

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Rep: Redevelop village to solve recurring erosion – Metro News

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Penang CM must stop blaming past govt for problems

Cracks in homes force seven Penang families to flee – Nation

Here’s the proof — federal govt gave only RM443mil for flood mitigation

Former councillors claim Penang government abuse caused floods

PAS claims graft caused floods in Penang | Malaysia

Penang pays high price in storm havoc – Nation

Up to the chest in water, up to the neck with the excuses – Nation

Dept: Typhoon Doksuri caused erratic weather across Penang …

Rapid development in Penang root cause of massive flash floods …

Admit failure in solving floods and stop giving excuses, Penang govt told

Deluge brings chaos to northern states – Metro New

Penang mayor Maimunah quits job to accept UN post

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Johor’s biggest corruption cases: land and housing scandal, slapped with 33 counts of graft


TWO IN COURT: Abd Latif (right) being brought to the Johor Baru Sessions Court by anti-graft officers. He is alleged to have abetted property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud (left) in the land development scandal.

After weeks of investigation, state executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi is finally brought to court to face 33 counts of graft. The land and housing scandal – one of Johor’s biggest corruption cases – is however set to widen as graft busters warn of more suspects to be charged soon.


MACC expected to haul up more people in land and housing scandal

JOHOR BARU: One of the state’s largest corruption scandals is about to get bigger as more people are expected to be hauled up to court in the coming weeks.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said they might be charged with the case involving Johor executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi either this month or next.

Among those to be charged, he said, were those who had been arrested previously.

However, he declined to reveal their names so as not to jeopardise MACC’s investigation, saying that no VIPs were involved.

“We are in the midst of completing our probe with the Deputy Public Prosecutor before charging them in court soon,” he told reporters after meeting MACC investigation director Datuk Simi Abd Ghani and Johor MACC director Datuk Azmi Alias here yesterday.

Azam said it was also possible for Abd Latif, who was jointly accused with property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud of committing 33 counts of graft yesterday, to face another round of charges then.

It was reported that eight suspects, including Abd Latiff ’s eldest son as well as his special officer, were nabbed by the MACC on Feb 24.

Anti-graft officers detained them after sifting through stacks of documents seized from the state government and developers.

They also seized luxury goods, including 21 cars such as Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, five high-powered motorcycles and 150 handbags.

On its probe into the purchase of real estate in Australia by Mara Incorporated Sdn Bhd, Azam said MACC called up 24 witnesses and visited seven premises, including a law firm, the offices of both Mara Inc and an appraiser, and their associates.

“All related documents have also been seized. We have gathered more new information, and it is a continuous investigation from the previous case in 2015,” he said.

“We need more time to complete this case as it involves another country.

“We have put in a request under a mutual legal assistance with the Australian AttorneyGeneral’s office but have yet to receive any response.

“We will also prepare the documents to be sent to Australia,” he said.

MACC had previously recorded the state- ment of suspended Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa over the same investigation.

Annuar also handed over several documents relevant to the case.

The issue came to light after Australian newspaper The Age claimed that several senior Mara officials and a former politician had spent millions of Malaysian Government funds to buy an apartment block, known as Dudley International House, in Melbourne

Azam said his officers were also in the midst of preparing a report into alleged match fixing by football players from the Malaysian Indian Sports Council-Malaysia Indian Football Association.

“We expect this case to be completed within two to three weeks after we hand over the report to the deputy public prosecutor for charging.

Source:The Star headline news

Slapped with 33 counts of graft

//players.brightcove.net/4405352761001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5403011372001

JOHOR BARU: State executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi has been charged in the Sessions Court here with 33 counts of graft, the earliest of which stretches back to just six months after he assumed office.

TWO IN COURT: Abd Latif (above) being brought to the Johor Baru Sessions Court by anti-graft officers. He is alleged to have abetted property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud (below) in the land development scandal.

Abd Latif, 51, was sworn in to his post as Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman in 2013 and according to the list of charges, he allegedly abetted property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud on Nov 13 that same year to convert bumiputra lots into non-bumiputra lots.

Yesterday, the court interpreter took about 15 minutes to read the list of charges to each of the accused in the case, considered one of the biggest corruption scandals in the state.

In total, Abd Latif is said to have abetted Amir, 44, to convert 1,480 houses.

He is also accused of helping to reduce the quantum of payment that developers had to contribute towards the Johor Housing Fund for converting these lots.

The offences, the last of which supposedly took place on Sept 13, 2016, involved payments of between RM100,000 and RM3.7mil.

Totalling some RM30.3mil, this involved development projects in Kota Masai, Tebrau, Kulai, Kempas, Nusajaya and Johor Baru.

Among the converted lots were apartments, double-storey terrace homes, cluster houses, cluster industrial lots, semi-Ds and bungalows.

Abd Latif was charged under Section 28 (1) (c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act for abetment, which was read together with Section 16 (a)(B) for accepting bribes.

Amir was charged with 33 counts under Section 16 (a)(B) for accepting bribes for himself and Abdul Latif.

Judge Mohd Fauzi Mohd Nasir set bail at RM2mil in one surety for each of the accused and ordered their passports to be surrendered until the trial was over. He also fixed May 23 for mention.

At press time, only Amir posted bail while Abd Latif, who was unable to raise the amount, was sent to the Ulu Choh detention centre.

Earlier, 15 minutes after Abd Latif and Amir were ushered into the packed courtroom, a defence lawyer stood up and asked for their “Lokap SPRM” orange T-shirts to be removed.

Both Abd Latif, who took time to hug and shake the hands of several people, and Amir then changed into long-sleeved shirts.

Abd Latif was represented by a six-man legal team led by Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican while two lawyers, headed by Azrul Zulkifli Stork, stood for Amir.

The case was prosecuted by MACC director Datuk Masri Mohd Daud, with assistance from Raja Amir Nasruddin.

Source: The Star by Nelson Benjamin and Norbaiti phaharoradzi

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Penang has confirmed the illegal hill clearing cases reported by Penang Forum


Land clearing in Penang is rampant with Civil liberties group, Penang Forum (PF) revealing only 7.4 per cent of the state is categorised as forested land. NSTP pix
Location : Near Lintang Bukit Jambul 1
Approximate Coordinates : 5°20’38.47″N,100°16’52.82″E
Report sent in August 2016. Photos taken in November 2016 and 2014. PHW Report 15 pix.

 

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has acknowledged that nine out of 29 hill clearing cases on the island, as reported by Penang Forum , were illegal.

Penang Forum representative Rexy Prakash Chacko said state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had a discussion with them last week.

This came about after the forum’s first Penang Hills Watch (PHW) report on hill clearing cases was submitted to the state on Jan 2.

“They investigated the report and concluded that only nine were illegal clearing activities while the rest were legally permitted land works (14) and natural slope failure (one). The other five cases are still being investigated by the relevant departments.

“The illegal clearing cases have been issued with stop work orders or are being followed up by court action,” he said on Saturday.

Chacko commended Penang’s concern and transparency in responding to the PHW report.

He urged for close monitoring on the nine illegal clearing cases and for mitigation action to be taken to rehabilitate the areas if necessary.

“For those with permits, the forum hopes that the clearing will strictly adhere to the state laws on land works and drainage.”

Chow, when met at Datuk Keramat assemblyman Jagdeep Singh Deo’s CNY open house in Taman Free School, said he had discussed with Penang Forum members about the report and answered their queries.

The public can view the PHW report as well as the response from the state government at the Penang Hills Watch Facebook page (@PenangHillsWatch) or the Penang Forum website, and see them interactively on a map at the Penang Hills Watch page.

PHW, a citizen-oriented initiative to provide a platform to monitor activities affecting the hills of Penang, was launched in October last year by Penang Forum, a loose coalition of non-political civil society groups often critical of the state government’s plans and policies. –  The Star

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Penang Forum launches Penang Hills Watch | Malaysia

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Penang Forum tells Chief Minister: the unmitigated disasters on hill projects


The Penang Forum steering committee released the following ‘executive summary’ to the media during its meeting with the chief minister of Penang

The Penang Forum steering committee released the following ‘executive summary’ to the media during its meeting with the chief minister of Penang:

To address public concerns over hill degradation in Penang, the Penang Forum took the initiative in September 2015 to co-organise a public forum on hill development with the MBPP and relevant Penang state authorities.

But the council and the state decided not to participate in the effort and missed the opportunity to engage with the public.

In organising the public forum, the Penang Forum is non-partisan and has not been influenced by any other body or organisation.

The Penang Forum has not been misinformed. Its information and data came from two sources:

  • answers provided by the State Exco to the State Assembly sitting in November 2015 on the number of legal projects and illegal clearings on sensitive hill land between 2008 and 2015; and
  • photographs provided by members of public, resident associations, Google Earth satellite imagery and drone shots.
    The scarring on Bukit Relau has grown into an unmitigated disaster. Despite a stop work order and a fine against those responsible, major earthworks, including the building of road infrastructure, have taken place.

While it is technically possible to build safely on hill slopes many stringent conditions must first be in place and complied with. The present approach to environmental and engineering impact assessment done in isolation for individual hill development projects should be reviewed.

The Penang Forum calls on the Penang state government to comply with its own stated policies of prohibiting development on hill land above 76m (250 feet) and/or with a gradient greater than 25 degrees.

Special projects should be limited only to those of public interest.

We recommend that the authorities implement a holistic planning and monitoring system that takes account of cumulative impacts for the whole hill area under development.

We call for violators to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including jail sentences and to be blacklisted for future projects.

We call upon the authorities to require all offenders to restore the damaged hills to their original condition.

Penang Forum steering committee
11 January 2016

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Penang Forum concerns over hill clearing and floods; the Declaration & Recommendation


Under fire over hill slope developments

Penangites upset with approval of high-rises on slopes…

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has come under fire for the clearing of hills and high number of high-rise buildings approved on slopes above the permitted 76m and 25-degree gradient.

Environmentalist and scientist Dr Kam Suan Pheng claimed that massive hill clearing from 2008 to 2015 at Pantai Acheh and Teluk Bahang endangered the lush hills at the Penang National Park boundary where the Teluk Bahang Dam is situated.

She also said the state government claims to listen to the people but went ahead and redesignated Bukit Relau, infamously known as Botak Hill, as a residential zone in 2012 amidst massive protest against the development of the hill.

She also decried the big number of projects approved on slopes above 76m and 25-degree gradient when the Penang Structure Plan clearly stated that there could be no development on such slopes.

Dr Kam was delivering a talk titled, ‘What is happening to our hills’ at the Save The Hills of Penang public forum at Dewan Sri Pinang here yesterday.

A handout distributed to the 300-odd participants of the event claimed that 30 blocks of high-rise buildings were approved on such slopes in Paya Terubong, 15 blocks in Bayan Lepas, 14 blocks in the Tanjung Bungah/Batu Ferringhi belt and nine blocks in Teluk Kumbar/Balik Pulau.

Universiti Sains Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor Dr Sharom Ahmat said hill development above 76m could be approved under ‘special projects’ if it benefits the masses but added that “bungalows costing RM4mil to RM5mil are barely for the people.”

In his talk titled, ‘Why are we here today?’, he claimed that public hearings seemed to be more of a formality as decisions were made before such hearings.

Environmentalist and engineer K.K. Lim, in his presentation ‘Are our hills protected by the government’, said the rampant development on the hills could see a repeat of the Highland Towers tragedy in 1993.

He said soil erosion due to rain and the lack of water retention because of hill clearing could bring a major disaster in the event of a landslide.

In her talk ‘Hill Offenders: Fine? Jail? Nothing?’, lawyer Datuk Agatha Foo said the RM500,000 and RM50,000 fines for violations under the Town and Country Planning Act and State Drainage and Building Act respectively were not a deterrent.

“It is merely a slap on the wrist,” she said, claiming that developers pay the fine as part of their development expenditure.

A declaration was made at the end of the half-day forum. It among others, urged the state government to comply with its own policy of prohibiting development on hill land above 76m or greater than 25-degree gradient and not to include ordinary residential buildings as special projects.

It also called upon the state government and Penang Island City Council to prosecute violators to the full extent of the law, including imposing jail sentences and to blacklist all offenders for future development projects.

Two PKR elected representatives were among those who attended the event organised by the Penang Forum which is a loose coalition of public-interest civil society groups. They were Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin and Batu Uban assemblyman Dr T. Jayabalan.

By Sekaran The Star

Forum Declaration & Recommendation:

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Save Penang Hill from the greedy


Uphill battle: A hiker passing by a vegetable farm on Penang Hill overlooking Air Itam.

Treasured heritage seems to be losing its charm to illegal farms and development

THE stall at the Air Itam market in Penang is said to offer the best asam laksa in Malaysia.

Rain or shine, it pulls in the crowd.

The ingredients for the dish such as ginger bud (bunga kantan), mint leaves (daun pudina), laksa leaves (daun kesum) and kalamansi limes (limau kasturi) come from Penang Hill, which is less than 200m away.

Farmers who cultivate the land at the hillslope sell their produce at the wet markets on the island.

The fertile hillslope from Air Itam to Paya Terubong is cultivated with vegetables and fruits.

Demand for the produce is so great that farmers are illegally clearing the hillslope to expand their farms.

About 2km from the market along Jalan Paya Terubong, there is a trail leading to a hillslope.

Lately, hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts have been using the trail to reach the 135-year-old Cheng Kon Tse Temple, nestled on the slope of the hill.

Travellers can see vegetable farms and fruit trees on both sides of the trail.

There are nutmeg trees, kalamansi lime trees, papaya and banana trees.

The vegetables include lemon grass, lady fingers and sweet potato.

As one continues walking up, a large swathe of hillslope which had been cleared near the telecommunication towers comes into view.

The bald patch can be seen from the Paya Terubong road below.

The slopes on Penang Hill have been cleared by farmers over the past few decades.

Such illegal hillslope clearing has been raised by environmental groups but there has been no firm action from the authorities.

A former Penang Island City Councillor claimed that he had provided pictures of the clearings to state leaders and that he had also raised the matter with the Consumers Association of Penang and Malaysian Nature Society.

“The press should continue to highlight the issue so that something is done finally,” said the former councillor who did not want to be identified for fear that the farmers might go after him.

“Penang Hill is our heritage. But no one seems to bother,” he said.

Besides Penang Hill, bald patches are also appearing on hills in several parts of the island.

Bukit Relau in Jalan Bukit Gambier has been dubbed “botak hill”.

There is also hill clearance in Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong and Bukit Laksamana, a water catchment for the Teluk Bahang Dam.

More and more hillslopes are going bald because of developers and contractors who cleared the land without the authorities’ approval.

The clearings are done on weekends and smoke can be seen from far when the trees are burnt.

A large swathe of land has also been cleared at a place referred by hikers as level 45 station.

It should not be difficult to nab the culprits since there are cemented trails all over the hillslopes in Air Itam and Paya Terubong.

When The Star reported on Feb 14 last year that more bald spots could be seen, a state exco member said they had pictures of the illegal activity and that action would be taken against the culprits but till now, no one knows what the action is.

It is troubling that all this is happening under a state government which emphasises on Competency, Accountability and Transparency.

Penang Hill seems to be losing its charm.

Yet, the state government seems to be focused on mega projects and land reclamation.

At a state assembly sitting last month, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Penang Island City Council was using drones to check on illegal hill clearing and CCTVs would be installed next year to monitor illegal earthworks.

The spate of hill clearings has prompted the Penang Forum, a coalition of public interest NGOs, to hold a forum on Save the Hills of Penang tomorrow.

Hopefully, the outcome from the event will reach the right ears.

There is a compelling need to save the hills from greedy farmers and developers.

Comment by K. Suthakdar

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Land clearing in Penang is rampant with Civil liberties group, Penang Forum (PF) revealing only 7.4 per cent of the state is categorised as forested land. NSTP pix
Location : Near Lintang Bukit Jambul 1
Approximate Coordinates : 5°20’38.47″N,100°16’52.82″E
Report sent in August 2016. Photos taken in November 2016 and 2014. PHW Report 15 pix.

 

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has acknowledged that nine out of 29 hill clearing cases on the island, as reported by Penang Forum , were illegal.

Penang Forum representative Rexy Prakash Chacko said state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had a discussion with them last week.

This came about after the forum’s first Penang Hills Watch (PHW) report on hill clearing cases was submitted to the state on Jan 2.

“They investigated the report and concluded that only nine were illegal clearing activities while the rest were legally permitted land works (14) and natural slope failure (one). The other five cases are still being investigated by the relevant departments.

“The illegal clearing cases have been issued with stop work orders or are being followed up by court action,” he said on Saturday.

Chacko commended Penang’s concern and transparency in responding to the PHW report.

He urged for close monitoring on the nine illegal clearing cases and for mitigation action to be taken to rehabilitate the areas if necessary.

“For those with permits, the forum hopes that the clearing will strictly adhere to the state laws on land works and drainage.”

Chow, when met at Datuk Keramat assemblyman Jagdeep Singh Deo’s CNY open house in Taman Free School, said he had discussed with Penang Forum members about the report and answered their queries.

The public can view the PHW report as well as the response from the state government at the Penang Hills Watch Facebook page (@PenangHillsWatch) or the Penang Forum website, and see them interactively on a map at the Penang Hills Watch page.

PHW, a citizen-oriented initiative to provide a platform to monitor activities affecting the hills of Penang, was launched in October last year by Penang Forum, a loose coalition of non-political civil society groups often critical of the state government’s plans and policies. –  The Star

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Penang Forum launches Penang Hills Watch | Malaysia

Dec 26, 2016 Dr Lim has raised various concerns during his stint as a councillor and forum member on issues related to hill clearing, land reclamation, …
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