By Parliament Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary –General and MP for Tanjung , Lim Kit Siang , in Peneng on Wednesday , 5th January 1994;
Has the State Government issued a directive to stop construction work on the new private hillside bungalow of MPPP President , Datuk Tan Gim Hwa , on Pearl Hill until it has been certified safe and would not cause further hill erosion and damage to environment?
One consequence of the Highland Towers Collapse Disaster in Ulu Klang, Selangor on December 11, 1993 where over 70 lives were lost , was the Cabinet decision on December 22, 1993 to freeze construction of all high-rise buildings in hilly areas.
The next day , Penang Chief Minister , Dr. Kog Tsu Koon, said the State Government agreed that safety was of paramount importance and that the State Government would ensure the stoppage of construction activities on hilly areas, until there was endorsement by accredicted consultants that the projects were safe.
The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Saad , who heads a state government special committee to check on hillslope projects following the Highland Towers tragedy , said yesterday that the state government had finalized a checklist for 27 hillslope condominiums and other high-rise housing projects in Penang.
The Checklist contains queries on various matters such as the condition of the building structures, the safety of the building from various aspects, the type of soil the condominiums and other high-rise buildings are sited on.
Both Dr. Koh Tsun Koon and Dr. Ibrahim Saad should pay special attention to the statement by the Director- General of the Abu Bakar also said ;”the Act clearly state that any developmemt should not be carried out on a hillside with 18 degrees slope for environment reasons. It should not be disturhed at all.”
The MPPP President, Datuk Seri Tan Gim Hwa, is building a privete bungalow on the hillside of Pearl Hill in Tanjung Bungah, on Lot 52HSD 180 NED Penang which , according to Land Office records, was transferred to him on 26 th July 1984.
It is evident that this half-completed bungalow is on a hill side with more than 18 degrees slope. A photograph of this bungalow under construction was published in a local press on December 24 , 1993 showing it perching on a hill side with no provision whatsoever to check the soil erosion from the slope.
The question is whether the State Government special committee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister , Datuk Dr. Ibrahim Saad on the safety of hill side buildings , had issued a directive to Tan Gim Hwa to stop construction work on his new private bungalow on Pearl Hill until it had been certified by independent consultants to be safe and would not cause further hill erosion and damage to the environment.
The State Government special committee headed by Dr. Ibrahim Saad should visit Pearl Hill and see for themselves the bungalows which are being built by Tan Gim Hwa and others on very steep slopes. In fact , there is one bungalow under construction which is being built virtually perpendicular to the hill – and Tan Gim Hwa and the MPPP should explain how MPPP planning approval could have been given for such a project.