108 plots of land in Penang used for unauthorised purposes, assembly told

Closed-circuit television cameras and drones with cameras are being deployed in inaccessible areas to ensure there is no illegal dumping or illegal use of land in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang assembly was today told 108 plots of land have been used for unauthorised or “illegal purposes” and heavy fines are expected to be imposed on the landowners.

State executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo (DAP-Dato Keramat) said the majority of these plots of land used for unauthorised purposes were in the Bayan Lepas area on the island and Bukit Mertajam on the mainland.

He gave a breakdown of illegal land use cases by district: Island: Northeast (11), Southwest (33); Seberang Perai: North (27), Central (33) and South (4).

Jagdeep was responding to an oral question from Lee Khai Loon (PKR-Machang Bubok) who had asked for a detailed list of land used for “illegal purposes”, following the discovery of a dumpsite in his constituency in Bukit Teh, Bukit Mertajam, in March.

On a different note, Jagdeep said more enforcement personnel had been employed by local governments and district offices to keep close watch on land being put to unauthorised use, especially on hill slopes.

He said closed-circuit television cameras and drones with cameras had been deployed to look at inaccessible areas as well.

Jagdeep said many of offenders had been slapped with fines under the Street, Building and Drainage Act (SDBA) 1974 and had been ordered to stop work and restore the cleared land.

He said equipment, machines and vehicles on these lands had been impounded by the authorities so that no further work could take place.

Jagdeep said the Penang Island City Council was drafting the Earthworks Bylaw 2018 to ensure high fines are imposed on those guilty of using their land for illegal activities.

He said the Penang government, in the meantime, wanted to use SDBA 1974 to charge offenders so that the maximum fine of RM50,000 could be meted out.

Jagdeep said the government was also planning to charge offenders under the Town and Country Planning Act 1974 under which a RM500,000 maximum fine can be imposed.