GEORGE TOWN, Oct 23 – The Tanjung Bungah State Assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu claims he had shared a report on the risk of hillside project development in the state including the project at Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah here with the Penang DAP state government.
Teh, who is from the DAP, said the report was the result of a study by a group of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) experts, a South Korean and a Japanese institution and civil engineers from Kuala Lumpur. “But at that time, the Penang state government regarded me as being too sensitive and as if to say that the matter (landslide incidents) could not possibly happen and now it has happened and killed 11 workers there.
Who will be accountable? “If they (state government) had cared and scrutinised the report, maybe the incident would not have taken place. Because of the greed of the quarters concerned, innocent lives were lost,” he told Bernama here today. In the landslide incident last Saturday, 11 workers of an affordable home project were buried by a landslide when they were all working at a construction site near a hill slope.
Teh, whom prior to this had always voiced out environmental issues, said he regretted that the protests of residents and results of studies by experts which were tabled before the Penang DAP state government on the environmental threats in the area were ignored. He said Tanjung Bungah, which at one time was known as a green area in the state, now faced the prospect of extreme environmental destruction due to the greed of large-scale and luxurious development projects.
He claimed the destruction meant that not just projects on hillsides but parts of many streams had been cemented up by developers to facilitate the siting of construction activities. “The resident associations and I have protested to the developer concerned but, as always, we were not heeded. Actually, when the streams were covered with concrete, rainwater, especially from the hills nearby, cannot flow normally, resulting in flash floods and landslides,” he said. — Bernama