GEORGE TOWN: All views and ideas shared by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civic society groups concerning development on Penang Hill will be taken into account, state Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said.
“We hope they will contribute constructive ideas on how Penang Hill can be developed in line with the state’s plans.
“We, however, disagree with any unreasonable and totally negative views on the development as the state will ensure all safety measures are in place if we accept any proposal to develop Penang Hill.
“We are aware of the sensitivities on hill development. We will ensure all necessary rules and regulations are adhered to,” he said in response to groups opposing a recent proposal to develop Penang Hill.
Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) recently announced a decision to build two new hotels on Penang Hill and later stressed that it would go ahead with the projects despite protests from pro-green groups.
Civil society groups and NGOs such as the Penang Forum, Malaysian Nature Society and Consumers Association of Penang are up in arms over the development which they say would destroy the habitat and flora and fauna on the hill.
Phee said the particular development was only a proposal and nothing was finalised.
“I do not understand the hue and cry over the issue as it is not like we are going to build a township on the hill.
“The state is in the process of consolidating its assets on the hill, such as the rest houses and bungalows, which are in a dilapidated condition and restoring them is a priority to maximise their usage.
“At present, there is only one hotel on Penang Hill. So, we are merely trying to give visitors more options,” he said.
The 12-room Bellevue Hotel is the only hotel on Penang Hill. It is located at a short walking distance from the upper station of the funicular hill railway line.
ON another matter, Phee said the increase in charges on the usage of single-use plastics from 20sen to 50sen and the need to increase the plastic’s thickness from 15 microns to 40 microns was merely a suggestion.