GEORGE TOWN, Dec 9 — Authorities have told the landowner of Hong Seng Estate to stabilise the slopes at Mount Erskine here on the edges of the 18 ha (45 acres) land located in a hilly area.
State assemblymen Yap Soo Huey and Cheah Kah Peng, who visited the site today, said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had already issued notice to the land owner to rectify landslide issues for the safety of the tenants.
“Right now, 12 houses near the affected slopes are in immediate danger and the council has already issued notices to the tenants to vacate the premises due to the danger posed,” Yap said.
Out of the 12 houses, three are vacant and two have already moved out leaving seven occupied houses currently.
Last month, on November 7, the front porch of one of the houses along the slope collapsed onto the back of another row of houses below.
While there were no casualties, Yap said the authorities had moved in to temporarily stabilise the slope and advised residents living on and below the slopes to move out as soon as possible.
“Investigations by technical experts revealed that the ground has become loose and it was unsafe for the residents to remain there,” she said.
The local authorities had temporarily stabilised the slopes with temporary measures since the landslide but Yap said extensive long-term works needed to be done.
“The landowner, Hong Seng Estate Trustees, has been issued a notice to conduct works on the slope to ensure the safety of the residents here,” she said.
For now, the council is monitoring the situation and if the landowner does not move in to start stabilisation works, the council will move in to do it.
The landowner has been asked to propose works for long term mitigation and stabilisation for the site.
“We are helping the families affected to move out and have included them as priority applicants for affordable housing nearby,” Yap said.
There are almost 600 houses built haphazardly around the hilly land, many of which on the hill slopes without proper slope mitigation works.
Yap said the Hong Seng Estate was established in 1819 and tenants started living there 1896 but the houses there have been built and rebuilt over the years.
She said the remaining tenants facing danger are reluctant to move out, but the state will be extending assistance in finding alternative places for them to stay.