Penang Forum responds to Penang government RM10m allocation for hill-slope protection

We laud the State government’s proactive measures for prevention of landslides, not just crisis management.

However the allocation of RM10m for hill-slope protection along with a study on the impact of climate change is small in comparison to allocations for other projects in the state. While we do not object to the diversification and development of other infrastructure including public transport and arts, there is a need to revise the budget so that the allocation for hill-slope protection (including studies, monitoring and rehabilitation) be expanded. With increasing development pressure the consequences will be dire if the proper management and protection of exposed soil surfaces and hill-slopes are not given priority.

The prevention of landslides and the rehabilitation of damaged forests, hills and slopes and rivers should be among our top priorities.

The allocated public funds should not used to protect

(a) slopes illegally damaged by developers/individuals; and

(b) slopes where development is currently taking place whereby the developer/owner should be held liable; and

If the state spends money to protect, mitigate, rehabilitate or restore slopes that are illegally damaged, it should recover such costs from the perpetrators.

The funds should be used:

(a) to protect slopes on state land damaged by natural causes;

(b) for regular monitoring of slopes in past projects/development sites where no one is monitoring; and

(c) strengthen the capacity of the governing agencies to carry out regular monitoring of hill slopes and oversee and do regular inspection of on-going development projects to ensure compliance to guidelines for controlling soil erosion and for slope protection.

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