Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Montage of Issues Facing Tanjung Bungah

Some of the issues facing Tanjung Bungah. Come to the AGM on Sunday, 3pm, at Tanjung Bungah Market, 1st Floor.

Saturday, March 03, 2018


Notification of Annual General Meeting

Dear Members and friends of TBRA,
Our Association will hold its 2018 Annual General Meeting on:

Date: Sunday 11 March at 3pm.
Image credit: http://www.penang-traveltips.com

Venue: Meeting Room Tanjong Bunga Market, 11200 Penang, 1st floor.

Time: 2:30 pm to pay annual membership fees (RM20) join as new member !

3:00 pm start AGM as soon as quorum is reached

The business of the Annual General Meeting shall consist of:
    1. To receive the Chair’s address;
    1. To confirm the minutes of the previous General Meeting;
    1. To receive and adopt the Annual Report by the Secretary;
    1. To receive and adopt the Audited Statement of Accounts by the Treasurer;
    1. Fill openings on the TBRA Committee. Please let us know if you are willing to serve on the Committee;
    1. To consider any resolution of which written notice should be given to the Secretary at least seven (7) clear days prior to the meeting;
    1. To discuss matters of general interest;


Please keep the date and do attend !

Yours sincerely,

Annelies Allain
for Secretary
Tanjong Bunga Residents’ Association 21 February 2018

Annual Report for TBRA 2017

Annual Report 2017

The following activities were carried out during the year:
  1. TBRA Committee Meetings - The TBRA Committee met 8 times .
  1. Meeting with the State Assemblyman – On 16 May, the TBRA Committee met up with Y.B Teh to introduce the new committee members to him and to discuss some of the issues facing residents in Tg. Bungah.
  1. Residents’ Associations of Penang (RAP) – On 17 June 2017, the Chair of TBRA, Meenakshi Raman, was selected as Coordinator of the RAP. The RAP was initiated by the Penang Forum, of which TBRA is an active member,.
  1. Meetings with government officials – In the course of the year, the TBRA Chair, along with other members of the Penang Forum, has been meeting with Y.B. Chow Kon Yeow to discuss various issues, including projects on hill lands and the floods. We also met with the former Mayor, Datuk Maimunah before she took up the post at UN-Habitat.
  1. Issues taken upThe following issues were taken up by TBRA during 2017:
  1. Support for the Sungei Ara Residents: On 9 July 2017, TBRA took the lead in organising a press conference jointly with 16 other residents’ associations, management corporations and committees, in support of the Sungei Ara residents in their legal case against the Sunway Hills project. The project comprises 600 units of apartments and bungalows on 80 acres of land and is on hillslopes above 250 ft/ 43% of which exceeds 25 degrees.
Apart from the press conference, follow-up letters were sent to the Chief Minister of Penang and the Mayor of the Penang City Council, on behalf of the 17 associations under the RAP on the issue. However, no response was received.
The Sg. Ara residents filed a case in the Court of Appeal, in order to overturn the High Court decision and affirm the Appeals Board decision. The case will be heard on Feb. 26, 2018 and TBRA will be present to support the residents’ cause. The case will have a major implication not only for Penang but Malaysia as a whole, as it relates to the development on hill-lands and the guidelines on ‘special projects.’
  1. Landslide in Paya Terubong, Lebuh Rambai 13: On 16 July, TBRA along with representatives from several residential areas in Penang (RAP), issued a press statement expressing our grave concerns over the landslide at a hillslope near Lebuh Rambai 13 in Paya Terubong, Penang, that took place in the morning of 14 July. We once again reiterated our call to the Penang State Government to prohibit development on hill-lands and to take measures to protect and stabilise hill-slopes.
  1. Aspen development, Chee Seng Gardens: In July, a few residents of houses along Jln. Chan Siew Teong sought the assistance of TBRA about a project by Aspen involving 44 storeys of high-rise apartments. TBRA met with the residents and helped them get in touch with a lawyer to assist the residents in their case with the Appeals Board. A sample letter was also drafted by TBRA for those residents who did not receive notice from the MBPP so that they can seek further clarification from the Council. TBRA alerted the lawyer and the residents about the status of Tanjung Bungah which is designated as being in the secondary corridor in the text of the Structure Plan, which states that only 15 units per acre can be allowed. TBRA has been informed that Aspen has now submitted a new (lower) plan for development and the residents have again filed their objections.
  1. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the North-Coastal Paired Road (NCPR): In July, several TBRA Committee members studied the detailed EIA for the NCPR project and submitted written comments and feedback (on 31 July) to the Department of Environment (DOE), along with 400 signatures to a petition from residents in the Tg. Bungah area who were against the road.
A press conference was held on 3 September, which was very well covered in the media, including a front-page and lead story in the Star newspaper. A sensitization and membership drive took place on the same day. Letters were also written to the Chief Minister and the State Exco for Public Works, YB Lim Hock Seng.
Unfortunately, the DOE approved the EIA for the paired roads on 10 November. TBRA 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. TBRA issued a press statement on 29 December calling for the Action Plan to be made public but there was not much coverage of this in the mainstream media. TBRA sent follow-up letters on 9 Jan 2018 to the Penang Chief Minister and the State Exco for Public Works to make public the Action Plan. There has, however, been no response to our letters.
  1. Response to Sept 15 floods: Following the massive impact of the 15 September floods that hit Penang, TBRA together with several residents’ associations and community representatives of RAP, got together on 30 September, along with members of the Penang Forum and other NGOs, including the Consumers Association of Penang, to assess how best to draw attention of the Penang authorities, the State Assembly members and the public on the need to take urgent action to solve the flood problems in the State.
A press conference was held on 15 Oct, where TBRA representing the RAPs issued a call to the State Government of Penang, and the elected representatives to take the situation of rainfall, floods and hill erosion very seriously. The press statement contained a list of demands on action to be taken. The press conference was well covered.

Following this, individual letters containing those demands were sent to all elected representatives of the Penang State Assembly, including the Chief Minister.

  1. Dialogue with State Assembly representatives on Oct 29 on Penang’s Floods: Call for Action: With the support of TBRA and other members of RAP, the Penang Forum organised the above dialogue. It focused on the causes of the floods, the severity of the impacts and the laws and the actions that need to be taken. TBRA presented the demands made to the State Assembly representatives. The dialogue was very well attended and saw a lot of publicity in the media. A video of the full session is available.
  1. Granito landslide tragedy on 21 Oct: TBRA was at the landslide tragedy on the morning of the incident and spoke to members of the press and called upon the State to set up a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the tragedy. We also issued a press release on 23 October, along with CAP and Sahabat Alam Malaysia, asking how the project had been approved when the DOE had objected to it.
The TBRA Chair was interviewed widely by the media, including TV stations in relation to the tragedy.
On 27 October, we also issued a press statement responding to the State government’s decision to set up the COI, calling for it to be made public and for the terms of reference to also include a review of the relevant laws, guidelines and approvals as well as the monitoring and enforcement aspects with a view to making improvements. Since February 2018, TBRA has taken active part in the COI, including through asking questions and raising issues related to workers’ safety, hillslope development and planning approvals.
On 11-11-17, members of TBRA held a tree planting event at the Granito site, in honour of the 11 workers who died at the site. Some 50 members helped to dig holes and plant 30 trees. The media were also invited. The initiative was part of the City Council’s tree-planting programme.
  1. Response to 4 November floods: The TBRA once again called on the State to halt all short-sighted and patchy urban planning that continued to cause more adverse impacts on the people of Penang, following intense rains on 4 Nov. We called for the development of holistic flood prevention and mitigation.
  1. Sore Thumb’ project: The TBRA Committee is still monitoring the proposal to convert the ‘Sore Thumb’ into a coastal park. Datuk Renji, former TBRA Chair and member of the Green Council keeps the committee informed.

Friday, December 29, 2017


Press Release                                                                29 December 2017


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
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.
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

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

Malaysian Meteorological Department


Penang Alert




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:  

Friday, October 27, 2017


PRESS RELEASE                         27 OCTOBER 2017

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.