GEORGE TOWN, Sept 15 2020: A non-governmental organisation has demanded for the Penang government to tell the public whether four controversial hill-clearing projects on the island are related.
Citizen Awareness Chant Group (Chant) made the demand as it believes that there were similarities between the projects at Botak Hill 1, Botak Hill 2, Air Itam and Teluk Bahang.
Chant legal adviser Yan Lee said it seems that the developers and land owners behind the four projects have no respect for the Penang government.
“They even have the same ‘catch me if you can’ attitude. They came to the respective sites and clear them without approval, except in the case of the Columbarium project in Air Itam,” he said.
Speaking to members of the media here today, Yan said it was puzzling that the state government seemed to appear as allowing the land clearing instead of taking stern action against the culprits.
He said in the case of the project in Teluk Bahang quarry, it has encroached into the nearby forest reserve.
He also pointed out that the Columbarium project in Air Itam, which was given a planning permission for 24 months in January 2016, appeared to has been abandoned.
“In all four projects, we can clearly see the hill slopes completely bald and unprotected, posing a dangerous threat,” he said.
Yan also stressed that a fine would no longer suffice to deal with those who carried out illegal land clearing and suggested jail time and black-listing as a more effective deterrent punishment.