Floods & Landslides: STOP HILL CUTTING FOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENT! #LovePenang #SavePenang

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The project, dubbed Sunway Hills,

- involves housing development on the 32.4 hectare sensitive hill land located above 250 feet above sea level and a gradient exceeding 25 degrees which is multiple time beyond the limit permitted by law.

- consist of  600 units of 14 Blocks of Condos ranging from 9 to 18 storey high including car parks, 3 storey bungalows and 2 club houses

Development on sensitive hill land of more than 250 feet should not be allowed, as it poses serious environmental and social impacts for residents in neighboring land such as soil erosion, landslides and landslips, and unstable soils and negative impacts from blasting works.

These are the precise concerns of the Sungai Ara residents that are also faced presently by other residents in Paya Terubong, and Jesselton Heights.

The struggle in the public interest should be supported for a better environment and a better Penang!

#LovePenang #SavePenang

Herewith is a chronological list of events that will bring the reader up todate:-

1.       We have won the case at the Penang Appeals Board on 20 Nov 2015 based on the  valid facts below:-

a.       27/6/2007 – The Penang Structure Plan 2020 was gazetted by the previous Govt ,  to prohibit development on Hill height exceeding 250 ft abv sea level and slope gradient exceeding 25 degrees.

b.      The developer had Failed to give proper or adequate grounds to justifiable exceptions described as “special project”. 

c.       An exception to any hill development under Special project needs to be related to developments concerning public interest or government related infrastructure or very limited development  but the proposed project of housing development totaling 600 units cannot be described as one.

d.      This is in contravention of the provision under Clause DS30-L5 in the Penang Structure Plan 2020 where “excision of hill land” to allow housing development can only be done and the development needs to be crystalised/implemented PRIOR to the Penang Structure Plan being gazetted on 27/6/2007.

However, in this case, Sunway, the developer was given approval for “excision of the Hill land” status under the Land Conservation Act 1960 only on 12/6/2012 after the Penang Structure Plan 2020 was gazette and enforced on 27/6/2007.

The “excision of the hill land” was Approved by the State Land Dept on 12/6/2012 after Sunway paid RM1 million as “bayaran khas” to the Current state government.

(NOTE: 30/12/2010 -  The title deed showed that the land was subject to Land Conservation Act 1960 when it was transferred to Sunway)

e.      Any development on sensitive hill land under “Special project” can only be approved by the State Planning Committee (SPC) but the delegation of power to MBPP in approving the planning permission is considered Invalid.

2.       Sunway then filed for Judicial Review to Penang High Court who quashed the Appeal’s Board judgement on 29 May 2017.

3.       The Penang High Court also granted the legal costs to be paid by the residents amounting to RM25,000 each, to Sunway and MBPP totalling RM50,000.

4.       We have filed an Appeal to the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on 2017 and the case is still ongoing to-date.

5.       We have already incurred a significant amount of legal fees and expenses/disbursements totalling RM105,000 (EXCLUDING the Legal Claims totalling RM50,000 granted by the Penang High Court to Sunway and MBPP)  through the monetary collections from the affected residents , during the Appeal Board and Penang High Court hearings.  This financial burden has taken a toll on many of the affected residents and has exhausted the fund.

6.       With the help of an NGO through their professional legal service, we filed the Appeal to the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya and the lawyers are doing the work pro bono (no professional fees) but the residents are paying for the legal expenses related to the filing of affidavits etc.

Though the lawyers are not charging us their “professional fees” but there are compulsory legal costs to be incurred for every submissions and hearing as mentioned above and also, disbursement expenses incurred by the lawyers representing us.

1.       As a contingency plan, We also need to make some monetary provisions for the FINAL legal stage at the Federal Court level ,  should EITHER PARTY lose in this Court of Appeal.   The Federal Court is the LAST means to fight this battle in saving this Hill in Sg Ara.

2.       The outcomes of the Sungai Ara case have significant implications not only for the residents of Sungai Ara but also the people of Penang, as it involves planning law and hill land developments.

On behalf of the affected residents and the Sg Ara committee , we have already exhausted our legal fund and would like to appeal for public donation for us to continue the legal battle to stop the hill destruction at the Court of Appeal Putrajaya.

For those who wish to lend your support, the account details are as below :-

Hong Leong Bank Bhd
A/c: 23501 004 698
Sg ara Resident Committee names:
Manuel Nicholas A/L Savarimuthu

Your support for us to save this hill from any landslide tragedy to save lives and also to preserve the rich green forest and Orchard Environment are highly appreciated.

For those who wish to support the efforts of the Sungai Ara residents, kindly contact: -

Cellphone Number: +60124899321

Cellphone Number:+60124006668