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Malaysian NGOs protest ‘mindless development’

Publication Date : 05-06-2012

 

Malaysia's Penang may have been named one of Asia's most liveable cities, but two non-governmental organisations here beg to differ.

The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) argued that Penang was becoming unliveable due to “mindless development”.

“The kind of development that is taking place leaves no space for conservation,” said S.M. Mohamed Idris, who is president of both NGOs.

He claimed that hills were being destroyed while in places like Tanjung Tokong, the sea was being polluted by reclamation.

Yesterday, a small group of CAP and SAM members staged a 15-minute peaceful protest outside the construction site of a hillslope housing project in Bukit Gambier ahead of World Environment Day today.

Speaking to reporters later, Idris said the current number of high-rise developments was unnecessary.

“Based on our observations, we estimate that 40 per cent to 50 per cent of high-rise units in Penang are unoccupied,” he said.

He urged the Federal Government, state government and local authorities to halt all hillslope projects and gazette forests and mangrove areas as permanent forest reserves.

“Coastal reclamation and aquaculture activities in Penang have also contributed to the destruction of the natural coastal ecosystem. Approximately 70 per cent of mangrove forests in the state have been destroyed by development projects.

“All these threats to the environment have led to at least 40 species of river and marine life to be endangered or extinct,” Idris said.

Contacted, state Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said: “We appreciate their concerns. I hope we can work together and that they provide us with their insight and help.”

 

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