How much longer must we wait? Paya Terubong residents asks Penang govt after two years of rocks falling from hill slopes

Large chunks of boulder debris are seen scattered along the road leading to Grandview Heights, Paya Terubong November 2, 2020. — Pictures by Sayuti Zainudin
Large chunks of boulder debris are seen scattered along the road leading to Grandview Heights, Paya Terubong November 2, 2020. — Pictures by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 2 — The residents of Grandview Heights in Paya Terubong, Penang claim to be living in constant fear of falling rocks and boulders from a hill slope near their apartment block due to soil erosion.

One of them, S.Guru, 60, said they have experienced falling debris and rocks from the steep slope numerous times over the years without any permanent solution in sight. 

“There have been numerous incidents over the years, the worst of which is when a boulder came down in 2018,” he said.

He said after the boulder fell down onto the road below, right in front of the apartment block, the authorities put up cement barriers around the boulder but did not clear it.

“It has been two years, the boulders and other rocks that fell down since then are within that barrier and the barrier is causing an obstruction to traffic on this narrow road,” he told reporters in a press conference together with Socialist Progressive Front members Teh Yee Cheu and Chua Cheong Wee.

Socialist Progressive Front Party Central Committee member Teh Yee Cheu (left) holds up a piece of boulder debris found along Grandview Heights, Paya Terubong November 2, 2020.
Socialist Progressive Front Party Central Committee member Teh Yee Cheu (left) holds up a piece of boulder debris found along Grandview Heights, Paya Terubong November 2, 2020.

Guru, who has lived in Grandview Heights since 1997, said the authorities had put up safety nets on one side of the slope and conducted concrete nailing on the other side of the slope before 2008.

“The safety net is now overgrown with vegetation and debris and small rocks are breaking apart from the concrete nailing,” he said.

When the boulder fell down two years ago, he claimed the authorities only came to put up the barriers around the boulders and left it at that.

He claimed that there was no effort to secure the slopes from further erosion.

He said last year, in April, he had written to the Paya Terubong Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) voicing the residents’ concerns on the safety of the hill slopes in front of their building.

“We sent a followup letter in March this year as we want the authorities to do something before anything happens,” he said.

A general view of the road leading to Grandview Heights, Paya Terubong November 2, 2020.
A general view of the road leading to Grandview Heights, Paya Terubong November 2, 2020.

He said so far, the only reaction from his letters was a group of officers from a government department visiting the site in September.

“They came to look at the slopes but after that, they did not do anything,” he said.

He also said that the road leading to the apartment, Lorong Bukit Kukus, was narrow with a sharp bend that often saw accidents when there were vehicles traveling from both directions.

He said he had also written to the authorities to look into removing the barriers by the roadside and clear the debris so that cars could pass the road safely. 

“They can move the barriers to the road shoulder and do something to prevent rocks from falling from the slopes,” he said.

He hoped the Penang government and the authorities would look into strengthening the hill slope before large boulders start falling from the slope.

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