THE THIRD FORCE
The Third Force condemns the administration of Lim Guan Eng in the strongest terms possible for pursuing with hillslope development projects despite repeated warnings by countless parties over the risks such activities pose to the environment and the people.
The greed with which the Guan Eng government slices large portions of hillslopes to make way for high-rise buildings may be the reason behind the alarming spate of flash floods on the island state, some of which even claimed lives.
But the Chief Minister remains adamant that his administration’s projects were not to be blamed, with one state assemblyman (R.S.N. Rayer) going so far as to claim that the recent flood which claimed one life and caused a TNB power station in Balik Pulau to explode “was an act of God.”
Despite these repeated denials and media acrobatics, the people of Penang have yet to be presented with an iota of information that pertains the overall impact hillslope development projects in the state have on the environment.
That’s hardly surprising, considering that the Chief Minister even ignores caution thrown by his own assemblymen over the wanton approval of these projects, particularly those along the Tanjung Bungah – Batu Ferringhi stretch.
Earlier today, the New Straits Times carried a report quoting DAP’s Teh Yee Cheu as saying he regretted his call for a review of hillslope projects went unheeded.
The Tanjung Bungah assemblyman, who lamented the loss of lives in the Lengkok Lembah Permai landslide earlier today, urged the state government to freeze all hillslope development projects effective immediately, pending a review.
“This is the kind of tragedy which I have warned of repeatedly. It is sad that innocent lives are lost to development. No one, but the state government, should bear the repercussion,” he was quoted as saying by NST Online
This has gone on long enough. The line must be drawn here.
Guan Eng can no longer be allowed to wash his hands off such tragedies. Pressure must be brought to bear on the Chief Minister for the irresponsible and inexcusable manner in which he and his men administer the state.
He must be compelled to present an extensive report detailing all the following in no uncertain terms:
1. The total number of hillslope projects undertaken by the state government between the years 2008 and 2017, both completed and ongoing.
2. Various assessments undertaken by the state administration to ascertain risks both to the environment and to the lives/livelihood of Penangites, including a comprehensive report that assesses these risks in an interrelated manner
3. Steps taken to improve urban drainage in the state to accommodate such projects
4. Funds involved in preparing these assessments and personnel/departments/companies engaged in conducting them
I reiterate, that the line must be drawn here. This far, no further!