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Foolhardy to forge on with hillside development

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 countries.

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.

Honorary Secretary-General,
National House Buyers Association.


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