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Phuah Ken Lin
New Straits Times
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Malaysia

DAP rep slams state govt over hillslope project

New Straits Times | Phuah Ken Lin | Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Aerial view of Infinity, a beachfront condominium in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN - The DAP state assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah has hit out at state authorities for approving another hillslope project on the island.

Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Chieu expressed frustration that his objection, along with that of residents in the area against the twin-block 33-storey condominium project in Lembah Permai had fallen on deaf ears.

The project was approved by state authorities in January this year and the hillslope development started in April.

Teh, who yesterday visited the construction site, said: "I am disappointed with the high-handed approach (of state authorities) to allow the project without engaging the local community. I am saddened to see another green lung is set to disappear."

The two-term asssemblyman rapped the local council for approving the project without holding a public dialogue to seek residents' views.

"My stand is clear. I am against all hill cutting projects in Penang. There may be little the local council can do now but I hope it is able to freeze the project until a detailed study on the earth stability on the hillslope is done."

Teh said the Penang Island Municipal Council must be held responsible should a landslide occur.

"The local authority must be accountable for any mishap as it did not consult everyone who lives in the area."

On Monday, neighbouring residents voiced their disapproval over the matter and urged federal agencies to investigate how a project, perched on a hillslope more than 76m above sea level, could have been approved. They were concerned about the possible violation of law related with hillslope development guidelines by either the developer or the state government, or both.

The local government's hillslope development guidelines prohibit any property project atop 76m, but a check on Google Maps, as of Nov last year, showed the site is some 81m above sea level.

In a letter to affected residents, the developer said the earthwork would take up to nine months, followed by main building work for the project, which would take another three years.

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