Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has conducted field investigation after receiving a complaint from a concerned individual pointing out that earthworks are being carried out at a hill land adjacent to Gambier Heights, Northeast District of Penang. Based on our observation, the earthworks are being conducted and there is no signboard with information with respect to the work in the said area.
SAM has forwarded this issue to the attention of the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP). We understand that the Gambier Heights Residents Committee has also reported this issue to the Council. We are not sure whether the project has received approval for planning permission from the Council and if so, when it was approved.
Among our queries to the Council is the type of development proposed in the area and whether the lot of this project is under the Land Conservation Act 1960 (gazetted as Hill Land). Since there is no signage to display information about the earthworks here we do not know whether this project requires the preparation and submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment report based on the project area and gradient of slopes.
Given that the hilly area is sensitive, SAM urges that the area is protected and conserved whereby no development and activities that may affect the area is allowed. Moreover, we do not want a repeat of the “Botak Hill” saga in Bukit Relau. The remaining hills that are still green and pristine here should not be ravaged in the name of development.
SAM urges MPPP to investigate promptly the earthworks near Gambier Heights and take stern action against the developers if found not to comply with the law. Do not wait too long until the hill here also becomes bald.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS
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