Monday, February 16, 2009

Hillside Development: Exclusive or Destructive?

By: Azlan Abdul Rahman

Bukit Antarabangsa and Taman Melawati in Selangor, Bukit Tinggi in Pahang, Batu Feringgi as well as Penang Hill in Penang and Lojing Highlands in Kelantan are examples of places which undergo the process of rapid development. Bukit Antarabangsa, Taman Melawati and Batu Feringgi rapidly been developed with terrace of bungalows, condominiums and apartments; while in Bukit Tinggi and Lojing Highlands, the implementation of agricultural and logging sectors are high. Kindly to mention, all these places are hillside places.

Hillside is a good, favorable and demanded site to build and develop terrace of houses as well as for the tourism sector. Every developer tends to choose hillsides as their site to build luxurious houses because it represents good fortune and exclusiveness of the owner. However, we need to know that by developing the hillsides, we are actually “inviting” natural disasters rather than to maintain the good exclusive way of life. Why is it so? The answer is because hillside development is just another kind of destruction to the environment. Any action which deals with destruction is leading us to disaster and catastrophe.

Hillside development is just a crime to the environment. We need to realize that by developing the hillside, we are actually being cruel to the environment, to its inhabitants as well as to ourselves. Rapid hillside developments can cause many problems especially in the circle of lives. Considering the ecology of the forest at the hillside, as an example, we need to understand that many flora and fauna depend on the forest. Forest is not just a habitat for floras and faunas but also as one of the important element in the circulation of human lives. The forest serves as water supply, food and home as well. If we ignorantly develop the hillside, we will notice that lots of destruction and problems will affect not only to human but also to the flora and fauna. To mention a few, landslides, floods, water shortage, destruction of animals’ habitat and extinction of several species of flora and fauna are the consequences and impacts of hillside developments. And even if we consider these problems as not serious and not harmful to us, we need to take notice that hillside development can lead to bigger problem with relation to our Earth – global warming and climate change.

Even though Malaysia has planned to come out with a new legislation on hillside development, which seems more on protecting the hillside, but the legislation cannot do anything to conserve it. The implementation of Hong Kong’s Dangerous Hillside Order, which is to reduce the risk posed to the public from known dangerous or potentially dangerous private slopes or retaining walls, seems appropriate but to what extent it will help us in conserving the hillsides? The right method of conservation is for us to treat the hillside as an exclusive, no development zone. As we know, prevention is better than cure.

(Photos courtesy of: &

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