The Steering Committee of the Penang Forum would like to commend the State Government for taking action against the developer involved in the illegal hill cutting at Bukit Gambier.
It is shocking to Penangites that hill clearing at this height and of this massive extent can be conducted in full view and quite obviously, over a lengthy period, without alarm bells going off and urgent action being taken.
Surely there are several departments such as Forestry, JKR, the Hill land Committee etc besides the MPPP and the State who should have taken action long before the public raised an outcry. It would appear that the action was not just illegal but blatant, deliberate, brazen and in total flagrant disregard for the law. The clearing is total and unmitigated, it does not leave anything standing, not a tree, a bush or a rock; top soil has been washed away. The bulldozers have relentlessly bared the entire top of the hill, almost as far as the eye can see.
The question being asked is, ‘Why did the developer think that he would be able to get away with it? Is it because he thought that if there should be a commotion raised, it would be possible to appeal to his ‘connections’, plead ignorance, promise a few contrite compromises, place a few blue plastic sheets on swaths of spilling red earth, apply to legalise his works, wait a bit for the outcry to die down and perhaps pay a puny RM50,000 fine and then carry on?
We appeal to the State not to be satisfied with ‘too little, too late’. These kinds of shameless and scandalous actions must not be allowed, particularly by those seen to have ‘connections’. We look to our leaders to show us the kind of moral righteousness that we so rightfully have come to respect them for.
Penang Forum Steering Committee 2013