Penang says hillside safety guideline ‘more stringent’ than other states
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — The Penang government’s new safety guideline for hillside development is more stringent than any other state in Malaysia, Lim Guan Eng said today.
Lim’s administration has been put in the spotlight after several reports by The Star highlighting Penang’s soaring property prices and uncontrolled hillside development.
Singapore’s The Business Times today ran a similar piece, titled “Pressure on Penang to rethink hillside projects.”
But Lim (picture) has dismissed critics, saying today that the island state’s “safety guideline for hillside development” is “as stringent as ever” and streamlines both existing federal and state guidelines.
“These are politically motivated criticisms, unjustified. We have been subjected to attacks; Barisan Nasional (BN) is giving the impression Penang hills are dying.
“They are not dying, they are still the same; present state government is more stringent than ever,” the Penang chief minister told reporters.
He pointed out a total of 31 development projects had been approved by the previous BN state government on hill land above 250 feet compared to none by the present Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government.
“Other states not as stringent as Penang. We don’t even allow development above 76.2 metres or 250 feet,” he said.
The safety guideline states that “independent checkers” are required to visit project sites during construction and report any non-compliance directly to the local authority for prompt enforcement.
It also states that the Penang Island Municipal Council’s (MPPP) geotechnical unit will be strengthened with experts to process and approve applications relating to hillside projects.
A maintenance manual is also required to be prepared by the engineer of a particular hillside project for maintenance requirements.