GEORGE TOWN, May 28 – Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) remains firm with its stand that “no trees are to be relocated no matter what” and will hold a demonstration to show disapproval to the relocation of the trees along Jalan Masjid Negeri, here.
The ‘Hug the Trees’ demonstration will be held by the second week of June to protest the relocation of the 16 trees to make way for a road expansion project. CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the state government had no respect for the environment and public opinion.
He said the state government only prioritises cars, and could not care less about other things. He also added that there were more and more roads are being built to accommodate the higher volumes of cars, and they are losing every bit of their land to development.
Earlier, Penang City Council officials together with the botanist and project consultant engineer had conducted a site visit to the area where the 16 trees will be uprooted and relocated about 100 metres from the road, on a half-acre land. The council’s engineer, Zainuddin Mohd Shariff said there was a need to expand the road as there were more than 5,000 cars passing the road within one hour.
Besides the road expansion, the pedestrian walkway, drains and street lights will be upgraded, with the total cost amounting to RM7.8 million. Zainuddin assured that all the trees could be relocated and that the survival rate of the trees was up to 80 per cent.
The trees will be planted about six to 10 metres apart from each other. However, the project will only start once the council has approved the statement of method from the contractor to relocate the trees. Zainuddin said they are positive that the project will be able to commence in June. Besides CAP, council member Dr Lim Mah Hui and Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu have voiced out their disapproval to the road expansion project.