Penang's 'balding' Bukit Relau under the spotlight


Yan Lee showing pictures of exposed earth on top of Bukit Relau during the press conference.

PIERCING questions will be asked about the Penang Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on hill land development management, especially because it was tabled but never presented.

It was tabled in the last assembly meeting in May and in particular, the report has strong words about action taken on the “balding of Bukit Relau”.

But though the voluminous report was distributed to all assemblyman, time was never given for the representatives to discuss it in the hall, said Penanti assemblyman Dr Norlela Ariffin.

“It was really sad for me that the report was not presented, only distributed. If it was actually presented and assemblymen could ask questions, it would have been better,” she said.

Dr Norlela was speaking at the dialogue on floods and landslides, organised by Penang Forum and Residents Associations of Penang on Sunday.

In the next sitting, Dr Norlela said she submitted many questions on the report and hopes to get answers.

The second meeting of the fifth session of the 13th Penang state assembly commences tomorrow.

On Saturday, Dr Norlela took 11 photos of the report and posted them on her Facebook page.

From her photos, the PAC, on page 40, expressed displeasure that Bukit Relau “still looks bald” and lists several mitigation works not yet done.

Dr Norlela, who is in the PAC and went up to Bukit Relau, had told those present at the dialogue in her speech: “When you see from far away, it doesn’t look so scary. But when you actually take your car and go up the hill to see what’s being done...”. She did not finish her sentence.

PAC chairman A. Thanasekaran, also Bagan Dalam assemblyman, gave assurance yesterday that his committee’s report was tabled in May and would be available via the state assembly.

Meanwhile, Penang Citizens Chant Awareness Group (Chant) urged the state to give updates on the status of the mitigation works on Bukit Relau, which locals nicknamed Botak Hill when the landowner cleared it.

At a press conference yesterday, Chant adviser Yan Lee urged the state government to ensure the mitigation works were carried out and that they should step in to do the mitigation works themselves if no work is being done.

“If the hill is left the way it is, there might be a landslide during the rainy season. Many of the recommendations in the report have yet to be done,” he said.

Among the recommendations tabled in the PAC report are hydro seeding, geo-textile covering, grass planting and repair works on gutters and drains.

In response, state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the Penang Island City Council Engineering Department would monitor the mitigation works.

“Work on the retention ponds has completed and we are waiting for temporary water supply to water the plants and ensure they survive,” Chow said yesterday.


   

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