Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Penang state and local authorities to check on the hill land clearing in Batu Ferringhi, off Persiaran Sungai Emas 3.
SAM’s field investigation upon receiving a complaint revealed that the hill slope here is being terraced, most probably for agriculture purposes.
The complainant had sent us screenshots from Google Earth, which clearly showed that tracts of land were being cleared on this hill. During SAM’s survey, we found the access route which leads to the cleared land but were unable to go any further to avoid trespassing as we were uncertain of the status of the land.
SAM feels that the hill land clearing is a disaster waiting to happen, besides destruction of the forested area. If there is constant and intense rainfall, the chances of landslides and erosion occurring are high.
SAM, therefore, urges the relevant authorities to visit the location to investigate the status of the land, the nature of the works being conducted there, and whether it is an illegal clearing. The authorities must also disclose to the public whether the works contravenes the Land Conservation Act 1960, which relates to the conservation of hill land and the protection of soil from erosion and the inroads of silt.
SAM urges the authorities to take prompt action on this hill land clearing and other areas, as a check on Google Earth shows that there are quite a number of hill slopes being cleared on the hill range there and other parts of the island. Our hills are fragile and past tragedies should serve as a lesson. We need to safeguard and protect the ecosystem of our hills.
Note: The site is located near 5º28’05.49”N, 100º15’25.82”E
Meenakshi Raman is president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia