GEORGE TOWN: A dispute is brewing over a hilltop project in Bukit Gambier, Gelugor, with NGOs questioning the legality of hill clearing.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Penang branch adviser D. Kanda Kumar said two of its members have hiked up to the site to learn more about the project but returned with nothing.
“There was no signboard indicating who the developer is or whether the authorities have given the necessary approval.
“Even if the clearing was done on a private land, approval is still needed if the developer is going to build a housing project.
“Without proper approval, the clearing is illegal,” he said when contacted on Tuesday.
Unless the landowner is building a home for himself, information such as the housing project details and name and contact of the developer must be put up for all to see, he said.
“This is important so that if anything goes wrong, we will know who to contact,” he said.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohd Idris agreed.
He said a letter was sent to the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) last week to request for details of the hill-clearing activities.
“We were alerted by the public and immediately went to the site to take some photographs and find out what's going on.
“We've since written to the council enquiring about whether planning permission has been given, whether the clearing is done on state or private land and if an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was conducted before the land was cleared.
“The hill looks like a bald eagle so we would like to know what's going on,” he said, urging the council to respond soon as Penangites were concerned.
State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the project was on private land but the state government would ensure that an EIA and proper traffic dispersal system are in place before the developer is allowed to proceed.
“We will scrutinise the project closely because in such developments, sand can be dislodged easily resulting in siltation and flooding,” he said.
Four photos taken on April 13, 21 and 26 and May 6 of the site have been posted and shared on Facebook.
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