Penang NGO questions state government’s seriousness in tackling hill clearing

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 15 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Citizen’s Awareness Chant Group (CHANT) today questioned the Penang government’s seriousness in combating illegal hill clearing in the state after another case was exposed in Bukit Relau.

Chant’s advisor Yan Lee claimed that there were at least four land clearing activities in Penang that caused mud floods, hill slope erosion and damage to nature.

“All these projects involve similar action, that is, clear the hill first and then have a ‘catch me if you can’ attitude against the authority. They clearly do not have any respect for the state government,” he told reporters here today.

Yan questioned why the state government still allowed this to happen, why the state government did not work harder towards combating activities that could threaten the lives of the people in Penang?

He said illegal land clearing activities in Penang had occurred at Botak Hill 1, Botak Hill 2 and Teluk Bahang, among the areas, while the one in Ayer Itam was given Planning Permission back in 2016 but the project had exceeded the deadline for over two years now.

Yan also called on the state government to reveal whether all the projects were related in terms of land ownership, contractors and any connections, claiming that some contractors were hiding behind different company names to obscure the trail from the authorities and allowed to repeat the same operation on subsequent projects.

It was reported yesterday that Penang Island City Council (MBPP) was considering legal action against a land owner who had ignored three stop-work orders since March and illegally cleared land for durian farming near Bukit Relau.