Errant Penang developers face up to RM250,000 in fines

A deadly landslide that took place in the Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road project in Paya Terubong, Penang, in late 2018.

GEORGE TOWN: Developers and consulting engineers found not complying with the requirements of the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) may be given compound notices of up to RM250,000 from Sept 1.

Public Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the stiffer punishment followed the gazetting of amendments to the Street, Drainage and Building (Compounding of Offences) By-Laws 1980 on July 2.

“With this gazetting, the offences of not complying with the requirements of the notice issued by the local authority (PBT) under Section 121 can be compounded not less than RM1,500 and not exceeding RM5,000 for each offence.

“Offences of carrying out earthworks without the written permission of the local authority or not following the earthworks plan approved under Section 70A can be compounded between RM7,500 and RM25,000 for each offence.

Zairil Khir Johari

“Those convicted of an offence under Section 71 for failing to supervise the site resulting in the collapse of a slope or retaining wall will be compounded not less than RM75,000 and not more than RM250,000 for each offence,” he said at a press conference here today.

Zairil said amendments to the by-laws were made as the non-compliance rate was still high at about 78% although the frequency of operations against developers had been increased every year.

“Of the 77 operations carried out in 2019, non-compliance has been identified 60 times compared to the previous year where only 18 non-compliance cases were recorded out of 18 operations carried out.

“Penalties that were too light were among the reasons for the high non-compliance rate.

“The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) does not have a provision to compound such offences, while the Seberang Perai City Council can impose compounds of only RM250. Therefore, it is not surprising that developers and consulting engineers are not bothered about ESCP compliance,” he said.

Zairil also said the gazetting of the by-laws proved the state government’s commitment to enforcing strict compliance with earthwork guidelines in all development projects.