Foolhardy to forge on with
18/02/2009 The Star
WE refer to “Furore over lifting of hillside ban” (The Star, Feb 16).
The announcement by that Minister of Works that the “green light’ had been
given for hillside development carries an innuendo that there is a shortage
of land for the increasing population and that the cutting of hills to build
houses is inevitable.
This is a preposterous suggestion. The recent Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy
seems to have been forgotten within a very short period.
Let’s not compare ourselves with developed countries with beautiful hillside
homes to show off. In our tropical environment with heavy monsoonal
rainfall, we believe the situation is greatly different from temperate
Hillside development requires special legislation to set stringent
conditions for the cutting of hills. It demands professional integrity,
honesty and a high standard of policing and enforcement. All these elements
are not the natural trait of the majority of Malaysians, especially in
situations where money is involved.
It is common knowledge that the enforcement capability of Malaysian law
enforcement agencies is questionable in many instances. Hence, we contend
that to allow a situation that critically requires all these elements is
indeed a foolhardy undertaking which will lead to a dangerous situation.
Another worrisome aspect on hillside development is that the disastrous
effects of any breach of the required precautionary measures may not
necessarily affect that particular property but those located downstream of
the defaulting lot.
On a different note, we laud the Selangor state government for being
steadfast in its ban on hillside development, despite the intense lobbying
and threats by vested interested parties.
CHANG KIM LOONG,
National House Buyers Association.