Official: Revised Penang Hill Special Area Plan to include cable car, Covid-19 countermeasures

Penang exco Jagdeep Singh Deo (centre) looks at a draft version of the Penang Hill Special Area Plan at Cititel Penang in George Town August 25, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Penang exco Jagdeep Singh Deo (centre) looks at a draft version of the Penang Hill Special Area Plan at Cititel Penang in George Town August 25, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 25 — The draft revision of the Penang Hill Special Area Plan (SAP) will include the proposed cable car service along with Covid-19 prevention steps, said state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo.

The local government, housing and town and country planning committee chairman said the draft was intended to ensure sustainable development of the hill.

“The draft revision will include disaster management plans, for landslides, and also to be Covid-19 resilient,” he said in a press conference after launching a second focus group discussion on the Penang Hill SAP revision at Cititel Hotel here.

He said the revision of the SAP altered the priorities and strategies of some measures to manage the hill and its rich forest diversity.

The state exco also added that the cable car project was possible even without federal funding and that Penang would proceed with it.

The previous Pakatan Harapan government had allocated RM100 million for the Penang Hill cable car system but this was revoked after Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over the government.

“The state is still in discussion on this and looking at several options,” he said, referring to the funding source for the project.

The Penang Hill SAP was gazetted in 2016 and is being revised to encompass a larger area of the hill and to incorporate new measures such as hill slope management and landslide prevention.

Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said the original SAP covered 468ha and while the revision involved 742ha.

“The revision will include tighter control in terms of development on the hill, we are drawing lessons from the 2017 landslides,” he said, adding that this would be a priority in the revision.

Jagdeep said the state will try to expedite the matter in order to allow for an extended public display, after which residents will have two months — tentatively November and December — to register their objections.

He said the state hoped to gazette the SAP by February next year, along with two local plans for the island and the mainland around the same time.

The exco said both city councils were finalising the draft local plans, which could be completed by October.

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