SEVERAL resident associations (RA) and non-governmental organisations have voiced their support for Sungai Ara residents in Penang, who are against a hillslope project in the area.
The group’s spokesman Meenakshi Raman said they lauded the courage of the residents in filing a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal on June 23 against a High Court decision earlier.
The High Court had ruled in favour of the developer in a judicial review application on May 29, and quashed the decision of the Penang Appeals Board which struck out the planning permission given to the developer for the project in Sungai Ara.
Meenakshi said development on sensitive hill lands of more than 76m above sea level should not be allowed, as it poses serious environmental and social impacts such as soil erosion, landslides and landslips, unstable soils and negative impact from blasting works.
“These are also faced presently by other residents in Paya Terubong and Jesselton Heights,” she said, adding that the residents had spent about RM100,000 in court fees.
Representatives from 18 RA and several organisations like Consumers Association of Penang, Sahabat Alam Malaysia and Citizens Awareness Chant Group were present to express concern over the matter.
Penang Municipal Council, now known as Penang Island City Council, had then granted the planning permission on Feb 21, 2012 in respect of the developer’s application to develop a gated and guarded housing scheme.
The proposed development on a 32.7ha plot comprises 600 landed and high-rise units with two clubhouses.
At a press conference in Jalan Paya Terubong yesterday, state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said it was not proper for the council to comment since there was an ongoing court case.
“If there is a court case, let the process take its course until the end.
“It is not appropriate for us to comment,” he said.
Council secretary Yew Tung Seang, who was also present, said he needed to understand the issue in detail before commenting.