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The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has confirmed that illegal land clearing is being done near Taman Sahabat Indah, Kampung Suluk in Teluk Kumbar, Bayan Lepas.

Local leaders and residents have recently voiced concerns as to the nature of the work, whether it was for the construction of the foreign workers’ hostels to which they had vehemently objected or other projects.

The council said a stop-work notice had been issued against the land owner on Aug 5.

“MBPP’s engineering department had conducted site inspection after receiving a public complaint about the clearing work. During our inspection, we found felling of trees, cutting of slopes and construction of a temporary road using an excavator.

“A verbal order had been given to the excavator operator to stop all work, which had been adhered to.

“We also issued a stop-work order to the landowner and for other measures to be taken,” it said.

MBPP said, among others, the landowner also had to immediately put up fencing and close up the road leading to the site to prevent any further work.

“The landowner also has the responsibility to ensure that the site remains safe and does not cause danger and harm to nearby residents, public property or the surrounding.

“An investigation paper has been opened, which will be followed by legal action,” it added.

It was reported that the Penang government planned to construct foreign workers’ hostels to house some 50,000 people on three plots of land in Teluk Kumbar near here.

The plan had been met with widespread objection.

In recent days, there have been calls to do away with the foreign workers’ hostels in Teluk Kumbar, particularly from Bayan Lepas assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz and Balik Pulau member of parliament Datuk Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.

Azrul said local residents had told him that they would launch a massive protest if the state government proceeded with its plan.

“As such, I urged the state government to intervene and review or cancel this plan,” he added.

Bakhtiar, meanwhile, urged the local authorities to hold engagement sessions with the local residents before proceeding with the project.

Source: NST Online

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