Friday, December 29, 2017

MAKE PUBLIC STATE ACTION PLAN ON PAIRED ROAD PROJECTS

Press Release                                                                29 December 2017

MAKE PUBLIC STATE ACTION PLAN ON PAIRED ROAD PROJECTS

The Tanjung Bungah Residents Association (TBRA) deeply regrets the approval by the Department of Environment (DOE) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the three paired road projects on 10 November this year.

TBRA has learnt about this from the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) who were informed about the EIA approval by the DOE.We also have learnt that the Penang State Government was required by the DOE to submit an ‘Action Plan’ based on all the issues raised by the public, prior to the EIA approval and this was complied with by the State.

TBRA therefore calls on the Penang State Government to make public the Action Plan so that we can assess if our concerns have been addressed effectively.
We also want to know if the Action Plan has addressed concerns arising from the most recent floods and landslides that occurred on November 5 this year and whether and how this has been taken into account in the construction of the roads.

TBRA had raised our concerns regarding the North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah both to the DOE and the Penang State Government. 
TBRA had pointed out serious environmental and social impacts of the NCPR especially for thousands of residents living along the road alignment.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the heavy rains that resulted in the Nov 5 landslides and floods involve parts of the areas along the proposed NCPR road alignment in TanjungBungah.

The EIA had revealed that about 46% of the proposed road will be on terrain with a higher than 25 degree slope, are well known to be ‘sensitive hill lands.’
How and whether the Penang State Government and the DOE have addressed this concern remains a mystery to us.

TBRA had appealed to the DOE to reject the EIA and had called on the Penang Government to have a dialogue session with all residents along the road alignment of the to explain the full details of the road and seek their feedback.

We deeply regret that our calls and concerns have thus far not been met by either the DOE or the State Government.

Now that the State has provided an Action Plan to the DOE, it is vital for this to be made public urgently and to seek public feedback, as this will be in line with the spirit of the State Government being transparent and accountable to the people of Penang.

TBRA also pointed out and continues to maintain that the ‘saving’ of 14 minutes of time travelled between Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang at a cost of RM 1 billion for the NCPR will soon vanish once more traffic demand is generated by the new road in the coming years.

What has also not been made clear how the State is going to disperse the traffic from the NCPR that ends in Lembah Permai inTanjung Bungah to Straits Quay.

It therefore incumbent on and imperative for the State Government to be fully transparent on the need for the NCPR, the implications of this to the residents affected by the road, what alternatives were considered and deemed not feasible and how the Action Plan addresses all the concerns of the public.


Meenakshi Raman
Chairperson,
Tanjung Bungah Residents Association

Sunday, December 17, 2017

From a Young Heart Planting Trees on 11/11 Remembering 11 Landslide Victims


Maverick DAP rep asks why party impatient to get rid of him

Susan Loone, 16 Dec 2017


Maverick DAP Tanjung Bungah assemblyperson Teh Yee Cheu broke his silence and questioned why his party was apparently impatient to get rid of him by barring him from being involved in flood aid in his state constituency.
Teh said he has not joined another political party and is still a DAP member and assemblyperson.
"Why can't you (DAP leaders) be patient? You are showing your impatience to get rid of me. It really shows the kind of mindset they have," Teh told Malaysiakini when met at his service centre in Tanjung Bungah.
Teh expressed disappointment that a senior DAP leader ran him down in the state newsletter Buletin Mutiara.
"Now you condemn me and say bad things about me. Aren't you just playing politics?" he asked.
"You say I might be a risk. What kind of risk do I pose? You mean I can sabotage the whole thing? How can I do that?
"If I want to sabotage (DAP), I do not need to announce in advance that I want to leave the party."
‘We don’t take risk’
On Dec 14, DAP Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari revealed that Teh was barred from approving the registration of flood victims which will entitle them to receive the state's RM700 in financial aid.
The aid is part of Penang's Bangkit Programme which was launched by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng following the devastating floods from a freak storm last month.


On why the two-term elected representative was barred, Zairil (photo) said this was due to Teh issuing a few negative statements to the press.
"He had publicly announced that he’s leaving DAP and that also means he's leaving the Pakatan Harapan state government. So, when there's uncertainty, do you take the risk?" Zairil was quoted as saying in Buletin Mutiara.
He said the e-mail on the Penang government’s decision was sent to Teh by state secretary Farizan Darus on Nov 20.
Zairil is currently handling the task of approving flood aid to victims in Tanjung Bungah.
According to Teh, the party was merely seeking publicity in handing out vouchers to victims of the Nov 4 and 5 floods, which displaced thousands and killed seven.
"Why not credit the money into the people's bank accounts? Why the need to give vouchers, take photograph and get publicity? Isn't this playing politics with the flood disaster?" he asked.
Teh is the second assemblyperson barred from handling the flood registration after a similar fate befell PKR Kebun Bunga representative Cheah Kah Peng (photo).


The task is currently being handled by Pulau Tikus assemblywoman Yap Soo Huey.
Cheah and Teh have often irked their party comrades by questioning the state's environmental policies, especially hillslope development, sea reclamation projects and recently, the corporatisation of the Penang Botanical Gardens.
'Narrow-minded'
Meanwhile, Teh denied that he was planning to contest against the Harapan government in the coming 14th national polls, which must be held by August next year.
Speculation is rife that Teh may jump ship and join the newly minted Penang Front Party, now a major critic of DAP and Lim's administration.
It is also rumoured that Teh may run as an independent candidate in the next polls.
"This is not true. Whether it is a multiple-cornered or straight fight, it is all up to the voters' decision. How can you say that I want to fight the Harapan government?
"During the polls, Penang is no longer under any particular party, the mandate of the state government is over," Teh explained. "To think that I am going to contest against Harapan is being narrow-minded."
However, Teh confirmed he would be leaving DAP - a decision he announced after a major landslide in Tanjung Bungah killed 11 people on Oct 21.
Teh said he will decide which platform he would use to continue his political struggle when the parliament and state assembly are dissolved.
"Be fair to me, give me some room to move, (and) to continue my work," he said.
On which platform he would be seeking, Teh replied, "I do not have much choice. But this is not for me to decide now."
"Certain quarters may say I have been approached by some rival parties and that I have betrayed the DAP, but these arguments are merely used to run me down," he said.
"I may retire or join NGOs, I do not know at this point in time."

Paya Terubong's Hillside Development Complaints Sound Strikingly Familiar ...

Paya Terubong residents have been struggling for years against complaints that today sound familiar to Tanjung Bungah residents.

See this 15-minute video from August 2016. It lists a litany of problems related to the poor governance of hillside developments: Hill cutting, unstable slope and potential collapse, highrise next to slope, lack of consultation with nearby residents, ineffective stop-work orders, muddy run off on streets and houses, filling up flood mitigation ponds, flash flood, water retention and mosquitoes, noise and dust pollution, illegal and dangerous rock blasting, report to MACC, "upgrade" of low-density to high-density project by the present state government, MBPP approval without giving reasons, illegal worker settlement, burglaries and robberies, effective 10-feet setbacks for 330-ft buildings, falling construction debris, ...

More at: NO to Paya Terubong HILL Development https://www.facebook.com/hillrape/

7-minute, drone video of Berverly Hills project, Tanjung Bungah, from Nov 6


Here is a very clear, 7-minute, drone video of Berverly Hills project, Tanjung Bungah, from Nov 6, the day after the collapse of the retaining wall. This is behind Surin and Straits Regency. The views include the back area and the hill behind the houses.


Know the river basins of Penang Island. Know that these have to be protected

Is it coincidence to see upstream hillside development and downstream flooding with "teh-tarik" yellow muddy water?


From Penang Forum
https://www.facebook.com/penangforum/
https://penangforum.net/

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tanjong Bunga remembers the landslide victims

On 11 November around 50 volunteers answered TBRA’s call to remember the 11 landslide victims by planting trees at the site where they lost their lives.
Old and young residents came with hoes and spades to plant 30 trees on
Lorong Lemba Permai roadside. 
Quiet thanks to migrant workers whose families will miss them most. Also a reminder to their employers and to the Penang government that Tanjong Bungah residents expect them to compensate the families promptly and adequately.

The volunteers worked so well and so fast that all was done by 10 am. When the press arrived only few remained on the site. An official picture was sent to MBPP to show TBRA did its part in the Tree Planting event that took place all over the State.






Tanjong Bunga remembers the landslide victims

On 11 November, the Tanjong Bunga Residents’ Association (TBRA) will be planting trees at the site of the fateful landslide, which cost the lives of 11 men, all except one, migrant workers. “We have heard painfully little about plans to compensate the families in Bangladesh and Indonesia who lost sons, fathers, brothers as well as their source of income”, says Agnes James, Deputy Chair of TBRA.

Since the landslide happened in Tanjong Bunga, the residents want to commemorate the preventable deaths of these victims. Foreign workers, who build our houses, keep our streets and homes clean, are people, not just numbers, not dispensable statistics, now here and gone tomorrow. #

Our town wants to thank and remember them, wants to ensure their families far away are not forgotten and be given adequate information, recognition and compensation.

# The Star of 22 October listed 14 victims by name: 1 Malaysian, 1 Pakistani, 1
from Myanmar, 2 Indonesians, 7 Bangladeshis and 2 others, Jamal and Rahman of “unknown” nationality. 11 bodies were found. There were rumors that more workers were swept to their deaths by the sudden mudflow but no confirmation
A week later, a picture in The Sun, shows SOCSO handing a cheque for funeral expenses to the Malaysian victim’s mother. It also says his parents will receive a monthly pension of RM1062 for the rest of their lives. It says nothing, however, about the funerals of the foreign workers, nor of any compensation for their families. Don’t companies need to pay SOCSO for all workers they employ? AND surely, the company must pay its own compensation; SOCSO is just a small part ?







TBRA chose this site to plant the 30 trees to commemorate the 11 innocent lives lost in the October 21st tragedy


Penang: 11-11-2017
Press Release TBRA
The Tanjung Bunga Residents’ Association (TBRA) is pleased to be part of the Penang Island City Council’s “Most Amenity Trees Planted in 24 Hours” initiative today.

This project is certainly in line with TBRA’s objective to retain the green image that Tanjung Bunga is famous for. We believe that planting trees will not only deliver health benefits by encouraging more people to walk and cycle in more pleasant surroundings, but also help to reduce air pollution and provide much-needed shade.
TBRA has chosen this site to plant the 30 trees provided by the MBPP, to commemorate the 11 innocent lives lost in the October 21st tragedy.
We have been concerned with over-development of our town over the past few decades and have been urging the State to temper development, and ensure that any new projects are in tandem with retaining a safe and healthy quality of life before approving them.
The recent spate of landslides and sinkholes, particularly in Tanjung Bunga, shows how wanton disregard and disrespect for the environment has dire consequences.
The unprecedented and unsustainable number of construction projects have resulted in deadly environmental degradation. Cutting into hill slopes to make “flat land” for tall buildings, ignoring unstable water tables and flimsy covering up of erosion sites have been criticized by TBRA and landed the association into often contentious and difficult situations.  
We are fearful that the future of our environment and natural resources seems to depend more on economic and political gains rather than on independent and scientific understanding of the value of protecting nature.
TBRA hopes to work closely with the Penang State in the future so that we can have clear guidelines to support both quality development and sound preservation to sustain Tanjung Bunga’s character. We want development for people, not for cars. We want parks, not parking lots. Pedestrian-friendly patterns exist which support healthy lifestyles and do not destroy but enhance neighborhoods.
Perhaps with the planting of all these trees, more residents in Penang will be spurred to understand the value of trees and welcome more of them, instead of cementing up their surroundings. This would certainly help flood mitigation even in a small way. The more trees we plant, the more there will be a regular drainage of rainwater into streams and rivers, the less erosion. Roots and vegetation beneath the trees will help prevent floods and landslides.
We the residents and the State government have a responsibility to future generations to go even greener than GREEN, by respecting our natural resources.


Agnes James

Vice-chair TBRA

(019 4735980)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Adopt a tree on 11 November, this Saturday... 9 am !  
An hour (maximum 2) of your time.

Come and join us to commemorate the 11 victims of the landslide and at the same time make our town a bit greener.

The Penang State Government intends to plant 10.000 trees on that day, 11-11, and TBRA will be helping to do its part. We have received 30 trees from MBPP.
A Tabebuia rosea plant blooming in Bayan Baru, Feb 2017
Initially we hoped to plant them on the "Sore Thumb", our future Coastal Public Park but we are having serious access problems.
So, then we decided to plant them at the landslide site as a way for Tanjong Bungah to remember the 11 workers who died in a sudden and awful (and unnecessary) way right here in our own town.

Tools and water

The trees we will receive are both fairly tall (5') and small saplings so there is something for everyone because we will need to dig holes to plant them. We’ll collect as many tools as possible but if you have a hoe or a spade, please bring it. Also bring your own water. We don’t want to leave plastic bottles behind.

Please join us this Sat. morning 11 -11 as of 9 am

Venue:  Lemba Permai

Lorong Lemba 3, pass TAR College, keep going straight, just opposite the now closed construction site;
or, if you come from other side: pass Tenby School and turn right at T-junction.

We’ll be planting at the dead end of the road after the 2 Chinese temples. There will be a TBRA banner. Press will join at 10am

Monday, November 06, 2017

TBRA Press Release on Floods Today

Press Release, 5 November 2017
Penang: Tanjung Bunga Residents’ Association (TBRA) is once again calling for the State to halt all short-sighted and patchy urban planning that continue to cause more flooded homes, uprooted trees, power cuts, and making travel inconvenient.
TBRA wants the State to relook at all its urban and sub-urban development projects to see how it can improve the State’s ability to resist and absorb floods. Flood resilience should be a matter of intense and consistent focus by the government in light of the worsening flood conditions in Penang.
Yesterday’s storm hobbled the city’s infrastructure by nightfall, downing power in a number of areas and blocking roads. This happened despite the best efforts of the State and millions of Ringgit invested in flood mitigation projects over the years.
Penangites continue to suffer repeated flooding primarily in low lying areas; and are now facing new areas of flooding following developments on and near hillslopes. Residents must consistently struggle to replace lost belongings and pay for repairs to their homes and vehicles.
We therefore urge the State to develop a holistic flood prevention and mitigation initiative and to stop leaving crucial work like this principally in the hands of developers.
Penangites have seen how poor urban planning has resulted in the recent fatal landslide and today’s sinkhole that tore up a road in front a new luxury development in Tanjung Bunga. Both were cut into the hills which are known to be watershed areas.
These two projects had major accidents despite having been developed, approved and monitored by qualified experts.
By cutting into the hills, developers can claim to build on “flat land” but even without heavy rain the build-up pressure of the water most likely caused the landslide on 21 Oct.  Developers know this risk but profit pressure closes their eyes. Their luck is running out.
These are no longer isolated incidents and the residents of Penang will no longer be silent.
Clearly there has been a failure in hasty and risky development and we hope the State can employ qualified experts to help them draw up a checklist for all dangers surrounding high-rise construction as well as develop a comprehensive flood prevention plan.
Tropical storms are an annual affair, and their impact in the form of economic losses could well be more frequent and greater in the near future. 

Penang must be prepared.

Agnes James
Vice-chair TBRA
(019 4735980)

Resources for Storm and Flood Information for Penang

Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang - MBPP
https://www.facebook.com/majlisbandaraya.pulaupinang/
























Malaysian Meteorological Department
https://www.facebook.com/malaysiamet/
https://www.facebook.com/pg/malaysiamet/photos/
https://www.facebook.com/MalaysianMeteorological/ 






















 

Penang Alert
http://alert.penang.gov.my/
http://alert.penang.gov.my/arkib_berita.php














 





PenangKini
https://www.facebook.com/penangkini/



PenangMyHomeTown
https://www.facebook.com/PenangMyHometown/





Sunday, October 29, 2017

Penang Forum 8: Dialogue on floods – a call to action (videos)


Representatives from all parties turned up for Penang Forum 8. Excellent presentations from a few of the presenters.


A few of those who spoke from the floor may have tried to score political points. But check out the informative slide presentations on the causes of the floods – and landslides – and what can be done to prevent them in future.

Watch at least 4 videos of presentations and speeches here:  
http://anilnetto.com/economy/development-issues/penang-forum-8-dialogue-floods-call-action-videos/

Friday, October 27, 2017

RESPONSE OF TBRA TO PENANG STATE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON TANJUNG BUNGAH LANDSLIDE TRAGEDY


PRESS RELEASE                         27 OCTOBER 2017

RESPONSE OF TBRA TO PENANG STATE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON TANJUNG BUNGAH LANDSLIDE TRAGEDY
The Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association (TBRA) welcomes the proposal by the Penang State Government to set up a Commission of Inquiry (SCI) to investigate the landslide that took place on 21 October at Lengkok Lembah Permai that killed 11 people.
We ask that the SCI be open to the public to ensure transparency in view of the public interest involved, and that it also allows the full participation and engagement of all stakeholders, including TBRA.
On the terms of reference of the SCI, we are glad to note that it includes the
project approval process and procedures to see if they were in accordance with guidelines.
We hope that this will also include not only the relevant guidelines but also laws related to the granting of planning and other approvals, as well as monitoring and enforcement aspects with a view to improving them.
This must also include a review of the guidelines on ‘hill site development 2012’, as well as in ensuring sufficient capacity exists in the relevant authorities to effectively monitor and enforce any conditions imposed.
On the TOR which calls for a re-examination of “other matters related to the project including if the project was built on flat land or on a hillslope and to determine if the quarry site was the reason for the failure of the temporary work site slope,” we wish to state that what is also material is an examination of the characteristics and overall conditions at the site and its surroundings, including the state of the site prior to the granting of planning approval and the changes made to the natural terrain.
Developments on Hill Lands
On a separate note, TBRA also welcomes the statement of YB Jagdeep Singh Deo that the State Government will continue to prohibit any new high-rise development on lands above 76 metres (250 feet) above sea level.
The YB referred to the policy in the Penang Structure Plan as regards the protection of hill lands which are above 76 m above sea level.
In this regard however, we are perplexed by how the MBPP had in 2012, approved the construction of 600 units comprising high-rise apartments and bungalows on hill lands covering 80 acres which are above 76 metres above sea level of which, approximately 43% of which are on slopes exceeding a gradient of 25 degrees for the Sunway City project in Sungei Ara, Penang.
In fact, we are shocked to learn that the State Authority had approved in 2011 an application by the developer to remove the ‘hill land’ status of the lands under the Land Conservation Act 1960.
The MBPP relied on the 2009 Guidelines for ‘Special Projects’ to allow the Sungei Ara project.
These actions completely defy the State Government’s stance that hill lands must be protected.
In order to prevent a repeat of this and to respect the policies in the Penang Structure Plan as regards hill land, the State government must now do the following immediately:
  1. revise or redefine what are ‘special projects’ in the 2009 guidelines in order to explicitly prohibit any future development on hill lands except for essential public amenities.
  2. It must also stop approving any further applications for excision of the status of ‘hill lands’ from the Land Conservation Act 1960.  
We also call on the State and the MBPP to also monitor all developments on hill lands and hillslopes in Penang and take immediate measures to ensure the safety of those living at the foothills of such developments, as in the case of the Paya Terubong residents in Taman Seri Rambai/Lau Geok Swee .
The TBRA also seeks the clarification of the Penang State Government and the Majlis Bandaran Pulau Pinang (MBPP) as to why it is not following the policy in the Penang Structure Plan which designates Tanjung Bungah as being in the ‘secondary corridor’.
The Structure Plan clearly states that in Tanjung Bungah, any housing development cannot exceed 15 units per acre as it is in the ‘secondary corridor’.
Why has the State and the MBPP not followed this policy which is legally binding? We seek an urgent response in this regard.


Meenakshi Raman
Chairperson of TBRA








Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tanjung Bungah landslide: Five REAL facts you should know

Some purported “facts” are being circulated about the Tanjung Bungah project.
Here’s an alternative look at five critical issues:

1. Was it really flat land before work started? We were told that “the project involved slopes with a gradient of about 20 degrees”. So how can this be entirely “flat land”? Show us the original ground profile in the planning and building plan – before any work started. Apart from the gradient, slope stability also depends on the subterranean geology, the height of the water table, what’s happening further up the hill, any streams in the area, and any erosion or excavation or other work at the base. In particular, the “factor of safety” should be considered, ie whether the resisting forces are sufficient to counter the driving forces of the slopes.


2. The Pelan Dasar dan Perancangan Pemajuan MPPP 1996 is just a guideline. What carries legal weight is the Penang Structure Plan, which was gazetted in 2007.   

The maximum residential density permissible for Tanjung Bungah is 15 units per acre as stipulated in the text.


Even if it is argued that Tanjung Bungah is in the primary corridor (someone during the previous administration had altered the graphic in the Structure Plan to indicate it is a primary corridor), it would be a maximum of 30 units per acre.
This project is for 980 homes in two 50-storey towers over several acres. The state government should tell us the density for this – using only the development site footprint excluding the hill slopes.

Too many high-density projects are being allowed in the name of “affordable housing” when they are not even affordable to the low-income group. [How affordable are they really, when by most definitions, genuinely affordable housing should not exceed RM250,000.] The reality is the text of the Structure Plan only allows for a maximum of 15 homes per acre in Tanjung Bungah.


3. The project may have been approved by “19 technical departments” but many of them (eg landscaping, PBA, Tenaga, Communications and Multimedia Commission, IWK, Bomba and waste management) have no real bearing on the risk of building so near a hill slope.


4. The DOE objection should carry the most weight and should override all the other departments. After all, for several large projects, the state is happy to tell us that the project would only go ahead if there is DoE approval eg the controversial land reclamation in Tanjung Tokong. Here we have the DoE itself objecting to these massive 50-storey towers near a hill slope (unlike other low-rise projects nearby). So why was the project allowed to go ahead?


5. The fact that an active quarry above the site was blasting nearby should have been taken seriously as it would contribute to slope instability. The footprint of the entire quarry should have been considered and not the specific blast point during any one time. The DoE’s Guidelines for Siting and Zoning of Industrial and Residential Areas 2008 (Appendix B) page 57 specify a minimum buffer of 500 metres for quarrying and on-site crushing activity.

http://anilnetto.com/environmentclimate-change/tanjung-bungah-landslide-five-real-facts-know/

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Has Tanjung Bungah development been in line with Penang Structure Plan?


"Even if Tanjung Bungah is a primary corridor, that would make it a maximum permissible density of 30 units per acre under the Structure Plan. Remember, that’s a legally enforceable document.

So what is the density of the 50-storey tower blocks with 980 homes? What about all other projects in Tanjung Bungah approved since 2007? The state government should tell us all their densities.
...
Another document that should have governed what projects could be allowed is the Penang Island Local Plan ...[but] nine years on ... that was never gazetted. Which is as good as having a Local Plan ‘missing in action’. 
...
The state government has argued that two other projects near the quarry were approved by the DoE. but these are low-rise projects. Nothing like the twin 50-storey towers – though on somewhat flat ground – in the pipeline close to the hill-slopes.
...
The state government had also indicated to Penang Forum on 26 January 2017 that earthwork at the site would be monitored. Perhaps it could tell us what kind of monitoring was done and what they found ..."


Read full article here: http://anilnetto.com/economy/development-issues/tanjung-bungah-development-line-penang-structure-plan/

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tanjung Bungah Landslide - State Government and MBPP must explain why DOE objection ignored and be held accountable

Press Statement                 Oct 23, 2017

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and Tanjung Bungah Residents Association (TBRA) are shocked to learn that the State Government and the Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) have chosen to ignore the objection of the Department of Environment (DOE) for siting the development of the residential project in Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah.

The DOE had rejected the application for planning approval after taking into consideration that the development site is located close to a permanent granite quarry and as there was no buffer zone between the apartment project and the quarrying activities nearby, as required by the ‘Guidelines of Siting and Zoning of Industries and Residential Areas’.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on 22 October 2017, it stated that the area is therefore not a safe and peaceful environment for people to live in.

The State Government and the MBPP must explain why they did not abide by recommendations of the DOE.

The One Stop Centre Committee of the MBPP comprises of the Mayor and technical agencies such as the DOE, JKR, JPS, District and Land Office, etc. The Council consults the technical agencies specialised bodies whether there are any objections of development.

The State Government and the Council in particular must explain the reasons for ignoring the DOE recommendation.

The DOE objection cannot be treated lightly as it is the Department responsible for ensuring environmental safety.

Given the DOE objection, the whole approval process for the project should be deemed not valid for not following the legal processes.

Further, the Penang Structure Plan (PSP) has also been violated by the State authority and the MBPP.

According to the PSP which has been gazetted and has legal force, the Tanjung Bungah area is designated as being in the ‘secondary corridor’. The PSP further states that housing projects in the ‘secondary corridor’ cannot exceed 15 units per acre.

How such a housing project was allowed in the first place in violation of the Structure Plan must be investigated.

Clearly, a Royal Commission of Inquiry must address these legal issues, and why the State authorities and the MBPP did not follow the law, the PSP and the DOE guidelines and objections.

This is not merely a worksite tragedy. It is clearly related to hill land development and processes surrounding planning approvals and violations of the law.

The RCI must be comprehensive to ensure that all authorities responsible are held accountable, including the relevant government authorities from the Chief Minister to the MBPP to the developer and contractors responsible.

The DOE too should have been more proactive in taking action when the State government and the local authority ignored its recommendation. This is no small matter.

Furthermore, we urge the State and the Council as well as the developer to provide adequate compensation to the families of the victims who have perished in the tragedy.   

The workers’ families can come to the CAP office for assistance if needed.

In addition, purchasers of the units in the project should be entitled to full refunds and the project should be stopped and not be allowed to carry on given grave safety concerns.


Mohideen Abdul Kader,
Vice President of CAP and SAM Council member

Meenakshi Raman
Chairperson of Tanjung Bungah Residents Association



See more details and links at Facebook post and comment section:

https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912381038916264
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912414895579545
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912499862237715
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912746162213085
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/913039342183767
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/913304918823876


Sunday, October 22, 2017

ANOTHER CALL TO STOP ALL HILLSLOPE DEVELOPMENT IMMEDIATELY - PENANG FORUM’S PRESS STATEMENT IN 3 LANGUAGES

PENANG FORUM’S PRESS STATEMENT

October 22, 2017

Why must it take a tragedy to happen in Penang before the Penang state and local governments wake up to the dangers of rampant and unsustainable development especially on hill slopes? Or will they wake up?

Two years ago, in December 2015, the Penang Forum, alarmed by such negative developments, organized a half-day event titled “Save Our Hills” in which engineering, planning and legal experts gave presentations on the dangers of hillslope development. (The presentations are available on Penang Forum’s website.) It then called on the government to review and stop further hillslope projects.  Very sadly, the call fell on deaf ears and the consequences are painfully evident today after an estimate of perhaps 14 lives could be lost in a landslide in a hillslope project in Tanjung Bungah.

The Penang Forum started the Penang Hills Watch (PHW), a citizens’ initiative to provide the state government, information on hill cuttings that it collects from the public. In January 2017, the PHW met with the state government; the present site where this tragedy happened was the first case that PHW highlighted to the state government. (Please visit PHW website.) Photos of construction and hill cutting on this site were presented to the state government to which it responded that the “earthwork is under monitoring.”

The Chief Minister of Penang, in the Safety Guidelines for Hillside Development, wrote “Penang Local Governments (MPPP and MPSP) are to strengthen their Geotechnical unit, which processes and approves applications for hill site developments, followed by strict enforcement. A monitoring team will be established to ensure compliance in construction and monitoring performance of slopes.”  The question is what happened then? Did the state and local governments follow through their own guidelines? Or was there gross negligence?

Such senseless tragedy could have been avoided. Penang Forum calls for an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate what went wrong and how such incidents can be avoided in the future. All parties beginning from the State Planning Committee that gave approval of all hill slope projects, to the One-Stop-Centre Committee of the Penang Island City Council that also approved the project, to the engineers who are supposed to monitor the projects, to the developers and contractors who carried out the project should be investigated and held responsible.

In the meantime, Penang Forum once again calls on the authorities to:

i. stop all hillslope projects with immediate effect;

ii. immediately amend the 2009 guidelines on ‘special projects’ to explicitly prohibit all development on hill lands, except if it is for essential public services;

iii. rehabilitate all existing exposed and barren slopes and spaces to prevent further soil erosion;

iv. undertake stern enforcement, effective and deterrent punishment on those who clear land illegally or do not abide by conditions imposed to prevent soil-erosion;

v. monitor frequently and effectively all hill slopes by the local authorities;

vi. publicly declare and give warning on all hill slopes and areas that are not safe.


Penang Forum
Sahabat Alam Malaysia
Consumers Association of Penang
Malaysian Nature Society, Penang
Women for Change
Penang Heritage Trust
Friends of Botanical Gardens
Residents Associations and Management Committees of Penang representing 25 such organizations

________________________________________________________

KENYATAAN AKHBAR PENANG FORUM

Oktober 22, 2017

GESAAN SEKALI LAGI UNTUK HENTIKAN DENGAN SEGERA

SEMUA PEMBANGUNAN DI LERENG BUKIT

Kenapa perlu suatu tragedi berlaku di Pulau Pinang sebelum kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang dan kerajaan tempatan sedar tentang bahaya pembangunan berleluasa dan tidak mampan, terutamanya di lereng bukit? Atau adakah mereka akan sedar?

Dua tahun yang lalu, pada Disember 2015, Penang Forum, yang bimbang dengan pembangunan negatif seperti ini telah menganjurkan acara setengah hari bertajuk "Selamatkan Bukit-Bukau Kami" di mana pakar-pakar kejuruteraan, perancangan dan undang-undang telah membentangkan bahaya pembangunan di lereng bukit. (Pembentangan boleh didapati di laman web Penang Forum.) Seterusnya Penang Forum telah meminta kerajaan untuk mengkaji semula dan menghentikan projek-projek pembangunan yang baru di lereng bukit. Kami amat dukacita kerana permintaan tersebut jatuh pada telinga pekak dan akibatnya adalah tragedi yang amat teruk berlaku pada 21 Oktober yang mana dijangkakan kira-kira 14 nyawa hilang dalam kejadian tanah runtuh di kawasan pembinaan projek lereng bukit di Tanjung Bungah.

Penang Forum telah memulakan Penang Hills Watch (PHW), suatu inisiatif rakyat untuk memberikan maklumat mengenai pemotongan bukit yang dikumpulkan daripada orang awam kepada kerajaan negeri.  Pada Januari 2017, PHW telah bertemu dengan kerajaan negeri. Kawasan di mana tragedi ini berlaku adalah kes pertama yang diketengahkan PHW kepada kerajaan negeri. (Sila layari laman web PHW.) Gambar-gambar pembinaan dan pemotongan bukit di laman web ini telah dibentangkan kepada kerajaan negeri yang mana  jawapannya adalah "kerja tanah sedang dipantau."

Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang dalam Garispanduan Keselamatan Pembangunan Lerang Bukit (Safety Guidelines for Hillside Development), menulis “Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan di Pulau Pinang (MPPP dan MPSP) perlu memperkasa unit Geoteknikal yang memproses dan meluluskan permohonan untuk pembangunan di lereng bukit, diikuti dengan penguatkuasaan tegas.  Suatu pasukan pengawasan akan ditubuhkan untuk memastikan pematuhan dalam pembinaan dan pemantauan prestasi cerun.”   Persoalannya ialah apa yang telah berlaku selepas ini?  Adakah Kerajaan Negeri dan Tempatan mengikuti garispanduan mereka sendiri?  Atau adakah berlaku kecuaian?

Tragedi seperti ini seharusnya dihindari.  Penang Forum menggesa suatu Suruhanjaya Siasatan DiRaja untuk menyiasat apa yang berlaku dan bagaimana insiden seperti ini boleh dielakkan pada masa hadapan. Semua pihak, bermula daripada Jawatankuasa Perancang Negeri yang memberi kelulusan semua projek di lereng bukit, kepada Jawatankuasa One Stop Centre (OSC) Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang yang juga meluluskan projek itu, para jurutera yang sepatutnya memantau projek-projek itu, para pemaju dan kontraktor yang menjalankan projek itu perlu disiasat dan bertanggungjawab.

Dalam pada itu, Penang Forum sekali lagi menyeru pihak berkuasa untuk:

i.  hentikan semua projek di lereng bukit dengan segera;

ii. segera meminda garis panduan 2009 tentang 'projek khas' agar dengan jelas melarang semua pembangunan di atas tanah bukit, kecuali jika ia adalah untuk tujuan awam yang penting;

iii. membaikpulih semua cerun dan kawasan terdedah dan gondol yang sedia ada  untuk mencegah hakisan tanah lebih lanjut;

iv.  menjalankan penguatkuasaan yang tegas, memberikan hukuman yang berkesan dan menghalang mereka yang membersihkan tanah secara haram atau tidak mematuhi syarat-syarat yang dikenakan untuk mencegah hakisan tanah;

v.  pihak berkuasa tempatan memantau dengan kerap dan berkesan semua lereng bukit;

vi. mengisytiharkan dan memberi amaran kepada orang awam mengenai semua lereng bukit dan kawasan yang tidak selamat.

Penang Forum
Sahabat Alam Malaysia
Persatuan Pengguna Pulau Pinang
Malaysian Nature Society, Penang
Women for Change
Penang Heritage Trust
Friends of Botanical Gardens
Persatuan Penduduk dan Jawatakuasa Pengurusan Pulau Pinang yang mewakili 25 pertubuhan masyarakat



 __________________________________________________________________


槟城论坛新闻文告

2017年10月22日

再次呼吁即刻停止一切山坡发展计划

为何必须得先等到悲剧降临槟城,槟州政府和地方政府才意识到猖狂且非永续性的山坡发展计划的危害?何时他们才真正地觉醒?

两年前,在2015年12月,槟城论坛因担忧如此的负面发展趋向,继而主办了一场半天的“拯救我们的山林”(Save Our Hills)论坛。在该论坛里,工程系、城市规划和法律专家个别对山坡发展的危害提呈了报告(所有当天呈现的报告幻灯片如今依然存放在槟城论坛网站里)。该论坛早已呼吁政府检讨并停止未来的山坡发展计划。非常遗憾的是,当时的呼吁被当成耳边风不受理。惨重的后果就发生在今天,估计可能有十四条性命惨遭土崩埋葬在丹绒武雅区里的一个山坡发展计划施工地。

早前槟城论坛推展的“槟城山坡观察”行动(Penang Hills Watch,或简称PHW),是个公民主导的行动,主要汇集公众的举报然后为州政府和地方政府提供山坡被开发的资讯消息。在今年一月,“槟城山坡观察”负责部队与州政府会面讨论有关已公布的山坡观察报告。目前的惨案事发地点正是该部队向州政府强调的第一个案例(请游览PHW网站获知更多详情)。当地的施工地和山坡开发的图像证据已提呈给州政府,而政府的回应仅是:“该土木工程正在监控之下”。

槟州首席部长,在《山坡发展的安全指南》里,这样写道:“槟城的地方政府(槟岛市政厅和威省市政局)需加强他们的岩土单位(Geotechnical unit)。他们处理和批准山坡发展计划的申请,随后要严厉执法。同时,一个监控部队将会成立来确保施工工程遵守指南以及监控山坡状况”。问题是,到底过后发生了什么事?到底州政府和地方政府有没有遵循他们自己的指南?又或者出现了极大的疏忽?

如此糊涂的悲剧其实可以避免的。槟城论坛如今呼吁成立一个独立的皇家调查委员会来调查到底哪里出错和如何避免如此的事件未来再发生。所有相关人士,从批准所有山坡计划的州级规划委员会(State Planning Committee),到也有批准权的槟岛市政厅的“一站式委员会”(One-Stop-Committee)、理应监控计划的工程师、施工执行计划的发展商和承包商,通通都需被调查和负起责任。

同时,槟城论坛再次呼吁当局者:

(一)即刻停止一切的山坡计划;

(二)即刻修改2009年的指南里所提到的‘特别计划’(special projects),必须明确地禁止一切在山林高地的发展计划,除非那是必需的基本公共设施;

(三)恢复所有已开发和光秃的山坡和山林区,以防止更严重的水土流失;

(四)严厉的执法,采取有效且有威慑性的惩罚对付那些非法开发土地或者不遵守强制性条件避免水土流失的相关人士;

(五)地方当局应经常并有效地监控所有的山坡活动;

(六)公开地宣布和警告,若发现哪些山坡和地区不安全。

槟城论坛 Penang Forum
大马自然之友Sahabat Alam Malaysia
槟城消费者协会Consumers Association of Penang
Women for Change
Penang Heritage Trust
Friends of Botanical Gardens
槟城居民协会与管理层委员会Residents Associations and Management Committees of Penang(代表槟城的25个居民协会与管理层委员会)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Penang landslide: Residents tell state govt, ‘We told you so’



GEORGE TOWN: The Tanjung Bungah Residents’ Association (TBRA) is demanding for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on all hill slope developments in Penang, following a landslide at a construction site this morning that buried nearly 18 people.

TBRA chair Meenakshi Raman said the RCI would be a form of audit on all risky hill slope projects in the state, to prevent any tragedies from happening again.

She also said the TBRA had repeatedly appealed to the Penang government to put an end to hill slope developments as it served as a domino effect to flash floods in the state.

“We were called ‘irrational’ by the Penang government when we appealed for hill slope developments to stop. Who’s irrational now?

“Today’s incident is a grave and grim warning to the authorities to take heed of mother nature’s warning,” Meenakshi said when contacted today.

In the 8.50am incident, a 10m-high hill slope came crashing down next to a construction site not far from the Tunku Abdul Rahman College in Tanjung Bungah.

At the time of writing, two survivors were rescued, while two more bodies were retrieved from the mud and rubble. Although their identities are not yet known, they are believed to be foreign workers.

Meenakshi said during last month’s flash floods, TBRA and other residents’ associations made a collective appeal to the state government to end all excess developments and hill clearing in the state.

TBRA, concerned groups, and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) had also previously called on the Penang government to amend existing guidelines concerning hill slopes.

Meanwhile, SAM president S M Mohamed Idris said the NGO had written to the Penang government “several times” urging them to stop hillside developments.

“We have warned that hill slopes are fragile ecosystems and cannot be touched.

“And now, we are really shocked that the lives of many have been sacrificed. We support TBRA’s call for an urgent RCI,” he said when contacted.

21/10/2017

www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/10/21/penang-landslide-residents-tell-state-govt-we-told-you-so/



See more details and links at Facebook post and comment section: 

https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912381038916264
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912414895579545
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912499862237715
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/912746162213085
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/913039342183767
https://www.facebook.com/tbra2015/posts/913304918823876