GEORGE TOWN, Dec 26 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has issued a stop-work order against a firm that cleared a mangrove swamp in Batu Maung without approval.
In a letter sent to the company today, the council said the company was found to have conducted earthworks and filled up the swamp without applying for approval from the local authority.
The council also ordered the company to restore the land to its original condition as a swamp.
The company was further directed to erect hoardings to seal up the area so that no further earthworks could be carried out.
“The company must also ensure the site is safe and does not pose a threat to the public and the environment,” read the letter signed by MBPP senior geotechnical engineer Mohd Razif Mohd Yusoff.
The company is also required to submit an earthworks plan through its consultant engineer to apply for approval from the council within 30 days.
The council also notified the company that it is an offence for an individual or company to conduct earthworks without prior approval, which is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of RM50,000 or both upon conviction under Section 7(A) Subsection (9) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.
State environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said personnel from the Land and Mines Department visited the site this morning in response to reports of suspicious activity there.
“There is no compromise on this as I have given my assurance during the last state assembly to protect Penang’s mangrove swamps from illegal clearing work,” he said.
Batu Maung assemblyman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain was recently alerted to the clearing work at the mangrove swamp.
He then informed Phee about it and an investigation was launched to find out if the clearing work was illegal.
The mangrove swamp was government land under the Fisheries Department and it is believed that it was rented out to a company to be turned into a workshop.