The island of Penang, on the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia has a very hilly topography. Almost 50% of land is hilly, and 39% is classified as Class III and above, having slopes more than 25⁰ in gradient. Underlain mainly by weathered granitic bedrock, this rugged topography has been a bane for development, as it presents a myriad of engineering and environmental challenges. What is fueling this rampant hill slope development and how is it impacting people's lives in Penang Island? This article seeks to explore these questions and look at what's the best way forward.