Friday, August 30, 2013

Group told Penang Government: Use Tougher Law Against Hill Wreakers

Its never too late to voice opinion. And now activists urge Penang authorities to also blacklist errant developers.
GEORGE TOWN: Several civic groups here have demanded that authorities use the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) against real estate developers who destroy hills, saying the Streets, Drainage and and Building Act (SDBA) is too lenient. About a dozen organisations and several individual activists passed a resolution to that effect at a meeting here today.
They also resolved to appoint a delegation to meet state and local authorities over the issue and to pressure them to blacklist companies found guilty of illegal hillside clearance. The meeting was occasioned by a recent court case in which General Accomplishment Sdn Bhd was fined RM30,000 under the SDBA for causing destruction to Bukit Relau. The SDBA provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000, but the Sessions Court judge in the case said he had decided on a lesser amount because it was the company’s first offence. The groups that endorsed today’s resolution included Penang Forum, Penang Heritage Trust, Malaysian Nature Society, Penang Consumer Protection Association, Residents Association of Jesselton, Sungai Ara Residents Association, Tanjung Bungah Residents Association, Pykett Residents Group, Taman Sri Nibong Residents Association, Bayan Bay Residents Association and Penang Citizens Awareness Chant Group. They want the authorities to frame a new charge under the TCPA against General Accomplishment, its directors and executives.
They pointed out in a press statement that the TCPA would be more effective as a deterrent since it provided for a maximum fine of RM500,000 and a two-year jail term. Furthermore, unlike the SDBA, it provides for the punishment of the directors and executives of the offending company.
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