THOSE who wish to appeal against planning permission and building plans in development projects can now do so online.
They can now go to http://erayuan.penang.gov.my to file their appeals to the Planning Appeals Board.
Those who had their building plans rejected by the local authorities can also appeal online,
Penang Town and Country Planning Department director Mohd Anuar Maidin said the appeal process had been fully digitised after four years of testing.
“The online system was opened to the public, appellants, respondents and the board’s staff last May.
“This has allowed appeals to be processed more efficiently,” he said when presenting a working paper on the ‘Appeals Board in the Digital Era’ at the inaugural Appeals Board Seminar held in Olive Tree Hotel on Monday.
Of the 573 cases received since the appeals board was first started in 1991, Mohd Anuar said 78.4% were filed by landowners living next to development projects.
“This shows a strong sense of awareness and responsibility of citizens to play a role in development plans of their neighbourhood,” he said.
Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) president Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif presented a paper on ‘Local Authorities versus Appellants: Who is Right?’.
She revealed that the number of appeals filed against MPSP and Penang Island City Council had been steadily rising since 2013.
Statistics in her paper showed that the combined number of appeals against both councils filed in 2013 was 22 compared with 31 in 2014 and 37 last year.
Penang Planning Appeals Board chairman Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, in delivering his keynote address at the seminar, said the appeals board functioned to support development.
“When owners of neighbouring land go to the appeals board, their aim is usually to stop the development or to alter an aspect of it,” said Yeo.
“But it must be understood by everyone that the board does not prevent development or preserve the status quo with the exception of heritage preservation.”
The board, Yeo added, worked under the presumption that development was inevitable.
He said that it strove, among other things, to “correct any irrationality, unreasonableness and disproportionality”.