GEORGE TOWN: Penang Hill, which was severely affected by severe floods that ravaged the island since Saturday, will be closed off to visitors for a month.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the hill was affected by the aftermath of the recent extreme weather conditions with 68 incidences of landslides, rockfalls, fallen trees and branches along the railway track, jeep track and on the summit area.
He said a total of 36 landslide locations have been identified on the summit affecting roads and by-paths on the summit.
Lim said four landslides as well as fallen trees and branches have been identified along the rail track, while 28 landslides were discovered along the jeep track between the Botanic Gardens and the summit since Sunday.
He said it will take a month before recovery and restoration works to be completed, adding that the repair works will focus on three main areas — the funicular track, the jeep track and the summit.
“The natural hill is severely impacted even with no development taking place.
“For now, we have gathered a team of experts and we will work to ensure we get everything back on the track in one month’s time. We hope to open Penang Hill to visitors before the Christmas holidays,” he said after visiting Penang Hill here today.
Lim said Penang Hill Corporation, together with various government agencies and relevant bodies, have begun the recovery and restoration works.
He also said water supply to certain areas on the hill, was disrupted due to burst water pipes, has been restored.
“Electricity supply to certain areas, which was also disrupted in certain areas, has been restored.”
Meanwhile, photos of massive landslides on Penang Hill, Tanjung Bungah and Paya Terubong have gone viral on social media.
Expressing concern, non-governmental organisation Penang Hill Watch (PHW) urged the Penang government to prepare for unprecedented rains and erratic weather in the future.
“In light of the recent developments, the state budget must have a larger allocation for climate change studies as well as securing hill slopes,” PHW coordinator Rexy Prakash Chacko told the New Straits Times.
Yesterday, rescue teams brought down 36 hotel guests and seven residents from the hill to safety. A total of 32 people were airlifted by helicopter due to bad terrain and another 11 decided to hike down the hill.
There are currently 147 residents who have chosen to remain on the hill.