GEORGE TOWN: Penang has taken down “dozens” of illegal telco towers.
State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said this when commenting on a report that Perak had demolished 300 illegal towers.
Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir had said there were more than 2,800 illegally built towers belonging to various telcos in the state. He said each tower must pay permit fees of RM2,000 a year, meaning the state was losing RM20 million in revenue every year.
Chow said out of the 930 telco towers in Penang, 137 had been found to be illegally built.
He said the owners of the illegal towers had been served 30-day notices, ordering them to dismantle their towers.
Chow said several dozen towers were removed upon requests by non-governmental organisations and residents.
“Before 2008, most telco structures in the state were illegal. They were not paying any sort of fees.
“When we took over the government, we conducted a legalisation exercise to ensure all were legal.
“The errant telco providers or owners of towers were dealt with swiftly.
“We have taken down dozens of telco towers for building illegal structures.
“Some owners have not paid up. They are operating against state guidelines for telco towers, which came into effect on Nov 20, 2009,” he told FMT.
In Penang, telco providers must obtain the green light from technical agencies such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Civil Aviation Department and the Fire and Rescue Department.
They must also obtain consent from the management corporations or joint management bodies of buildings and the respective state assemblymen.
After permission is given by all sides, the local governments would then consider allowing the telco tower to be erected.
These towers have been opposed by residents for health reasons in many places.
The Penang Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Radiation Protection Association is at the forefront in demanding that telco towers be brought down.
The group have claimed the EMF radiation from telco towers is hazardous to health and ought to be removed.
Over the past years, they had also campaigned in Penang to remove 4G transmission towers erected at schools to provide Internet coverage.