Offenders may face hefty fines for disregarding erosion control plan


PENANG Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari is proposing to the state executive council in the next meeting to amend the bylaws of two state local councils.


Zairil said the proposal was to amend the bylaws to enable the local councils to impose a hefty fine on those who were in violation of the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP).


“Developers have to prepare the ESCP before a construction begins. However, how many contractors actually complied with the ESCP after it was approved? It’s often they don’t,” Zairil said in his speech after visiting the River Awareness Project event today.


The project, themed ‘Jom Kenali Sungai Kelian’, was held at the Tanjung Bungah fishermen’s shacks, off Jalan Wee Hein Tze.


Zairil said an Ops Lumpur committee was set up by the Penang government in 2016 to monitor construction sites and to ensure that these sites are in compliance with the ESCP.


“Six spot checks were done in 2017 and we found four that violated the ESCP.


“I increased the number of spot checks to 18 in 2018, and all 18 construction sites did not comply with the ESCP. One hundred percent did not comply!


“I increase the number of spot checks again this year. As of now, we have held 66 spot checks.


“We found 55 sites did not comply with the ESCP,” he said.


A volunteer educating the children about the sources of river pollution.


Zairil said that the number of spot checks did not reduce the rate of non-compliance.


“The local councils can issue stop work order until the contractors comply with the ESCP.


“However, the fines for ESCP violations in Penang was as low as RM250; unlike in Selangor where fines can be as high as RM250,000 per offence,” he said.


Volunteers help to clean up the beach.


“I wish to raise the fines to the same level as in Selangor. I believe that the state executive council will approve the proposal.


“The proposal will be able to deter more ESCP violations. The ESCP serves to prevent river pollution and mudslides,” he said.


A total of 120 people took part in the event today, which include an exhibition on Sungai Kelian, a creative drawing workshop for children, gotong-royong to clean up the beach, a documentary on Sungai Kelian and traditional games.


The children and volunteers playing the traditional games at the event.


The event was the second programme held after the first on Nov 3 at the Tanjung Bungah food and market complex.


The third and final programme will be held from 8.30am to 12.30pm at the open area in Lembah Permai 2 on Nov 17.


Admission is free.


The River Awareness Project is jointly organised by Cleaner Greener Penang, Penang Forum, Penang Hills Watch, Ruang Kongsi, Tanjung Bunga Residents’ Association and Penang Water Supply Corporation.



Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Chan Kok Kuan