Hotels, chalets among illegal structures on hills, says Audit Report

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GEORGE TOWN, Nov 23 — Several hotels and chalets in operation are among 11 illegal structures erected at hills located in the southwest district here, says the third series of the 2014 Auditor-General’s Report.

Also built on the 11 plots of land at the hills were houses and restaurants that are still in operation.

The 11 illegal structures which have no Certificate of Fitness (CF) has resulted in the Penang City Council (MBPP) unable to collect assessment tax from the owners of the premises, the report said.

According to the report, visits on June 17 and July 29, found that the construction of illegal structures in the hills involved chalets in Teluk Bahang and Sungai Ara, hotels in Teluk Kumbar, restaurants in Balik Pulau and houses in Balik Pulau and Teluk Pahang.

The restaurants which are still operating in Balik Pulau does not have any business licence, the report said.

“The audit visits in Teluk Bahang also revealed that two of the 11 illegal structures are located in areas that were gazetted as Teluk Bahang reservoir in 2004. We also found a house and a chalet located in the slopes of phase III, between 25 to 35 degrees,” the report said.

The MPPP, in a reply on the matter explained that out of 11 cases, two cases were in the prosecution stage, two in summary action, five cases involved in Teluk Bahang reservoir will be tabled at an executive council meeting, while one case each was fined and notice issued.

The report said in addition to the construction of illegal structures, an audit review on the notice to stop earthworks’ list from 2012 to Mac 16 this year revealed that 268 privately owned land lots conducted earthworks without approval.

According to the report, 31 land lots were at a height of more than 76 metres (250 feet), an area defined as highland and environmentally sensitive areas.

“The Audit visits between May 20 and July 20 found earthworks, land excavation and slope cutting were done without approval from the MPPP and as it does not take into account the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),” the report said.

The Auditor-General’s report also touched on violation of a notice to stop earthworks during the audit visits between June 8 and July 28 which found that five landowners who had been issued the notice were still carrying out works.

The land lots involved one each in Teluk Kumbar and Teluk Bahang plus three more in Bukit Bendera.

“The situation has come about due to the failure of the MPPP to monitor and patrol regularly after notices had been issued to the landowners. The effects can lead to the risk of soil erosion, landslides and mudslides,” the report said. — Bernama

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