Violators need to feel full force of the law, says SAM

  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020

The top of the hill has been cut into a plateau while a concrete road winds downhill.

GREEN activists want local authorities to use the full strength of the law against those doing earthworks illegally, especially on hills.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia president Meenakshi Raman said errant developers or landowners should not be allowed to defy stop-work orders “by even a day”.

“The councils must use all the powers they have under the various laws to bring the culprits to book and haul them to court with urgency.

“We must not allow such flagrant disregard for the law. Earthworks, especially hill clearing, should be regarded as serious crimes against nature as they endanger the stability of slopes and lead to massive soil erosion.

Roads and some structures built without planning permission at Bukit Relau Range.Roads and some structures built without planning permission at Bukit Relau Range.

“This will cause landslides, which we have witnessed in Penang many times, ” she said.

Meenakshi was commenting on fruit orchards built on about 20ha atop Bukit Relau.

Penang Island City Council announced that it would take the owner to court for conducting earthworks on the hilltop without planning permission.

“If the council does not act with haste against the violators, we will be sending a message that it is all right to break the law and get away with it.

“We urge MBPP to act before it is too late and take all measures to impose the most deterrent punishment possible, ” Meenakshi added.

Visible to everyone crossing Penang Bridge towards the island since 2014, the orchards are to the left of a ‘yellow scar’ snaking up to the hilltop. This scar on the hill face is an illegally built dirt road in 2013 that led to Penangites calling it ‘Botak Hill’.

All activity has stopped on ‘Botak Hill’ and the once-cleared slope is turning green again. However, the yellow road is still visible.

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