GEORGE TOWN, Oct 1 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will be taking the illegal quarry case to court soon.
Penang state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo said the city council has handed the case to its legal department for further action.
“The city council will be looking into taking the illegal quarry operator to court, it is being handled by the MBPP legal department,” he said in a press conference after delivering a speech at a briefing on the city council’s assessment rate review.
The housing, local government and town and country planning committee chairman was responding to a news report by The Star today that claimed the hill in Teluk Bahang was cleared by an illegal quarry operator.
The report stated that the illegal quarry operator had continued carrying out works despite being issued notices by the local authorities.
Jagdeep said the law only provides for the local authorities to issue notices and stop-work orders.
“We will have to amend the laws if we have to look at other methods of enforcement not provided by the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the city council has already lodged a police report against the illegal quarry operator last month.
“The police said to give them some time to investigate the case before we launch a joint action against the illegal operator,” he said.
Earlier today, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) expressed disappointment over the news of the illegal quarry operator continuing operations despite being issued notices.
“According to media reports today (in the Star), the state government has known about the illegal quarry since its expose in May 2016,” SAM president Meenakshi Raman claimed.
She questioned the local authorities for allowing the operator to continue operating illegally for so many years.
“Why did the government authorities including the Penang state government which is responsible for quarrying activities under the National Land Code, as well as the MBPP, not take stern action urgently when the quarry operator was happily flouting the laws?” she asked.
She said the quarry operator should have been charged and prosecuted for the illegal acts, with strong and deterrent punishment instead of being allowed to carry on its work.
She said this case clearly showed a lack of enforcement at all levels of the government.
“We call on the Penang state government and the MBPP to buck up and take urgent action to stop the illegal quarry, and haul the operator to court, and push for a jail sentence,” she said.
She said the quarry operator should also be required to rehabilitate and restore the area which has been ravaged by the quarry works.
She stressed that the authorities should be taking urgent and stern actions now before it is too late.