GEORGE TOWN, Jan 17 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has not approved any development plans for Bukit Relau, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Adding that no development was currently ongoing at the hill dubbed “Botak Hill” due to an illegally cleared path, he said the area was also being restored.
“I don’t have the details now, check with MBPP on this but what I can say is that up till today there’s no approval given for any projects on the hill,” he told reporters after launching the new Landscaping Department office at Youth Park today.
He added that even if the land was zoned as residential land, the technical specifications must comply with MBPP requirements before the local authority could give approvals for any project.
He added that high-rise developments will definitely not be approved.
Lim said for agricultural use, the owner is allowed to build a house on 20 per cent of the land.
“When they do it like that, it is not economical for them, but we cannot stop them if they want to build a house,” he said.
When contacted, MBPP secretary Yew Tung Seang said they are looking into the matter.
“Let us look into the details of mitigation works first,” he said.
Yesterday, Penang Gerakan Youth acting chief Jason Loo Jieh Sheng planted two trees on the bare hill to push for the state to restore the hill.
He claimed the hill was not fully restored after so many years and had demanded that the state do something to restore it.
Loo also questioned the need for a wider road being built on the hill while pointing out that the land was zoned as residential land which meant the landowner could apply to develop the slopes.
The Botak Hill became a controversial issue in 2013 due to illegal land clearing works and the bared parts are apparent from afar especially from the Penang bridge.
The landowner was since charged and fined in court for illegally clearing the land and was told to restore the hill through extensive mitigation works.