KOTA KINABALU: The felling of a century old rain tree near the train station and field in Tenom town to make way for a public toilet project has drawn criticism from environmental activist Dr CY Vun, SAPP vice president Datuk Wong Yit Ming and shop owners who operate at the area.
Vun, who is a member of Sabah Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), said Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir had during the City Hall tree planting programme on Wednesday stated that the oldest rain tree in the city at Wisma Muis in Sembulan is about 90 years old and is worth about RM600,000.
As such, the century old rain tree that was chopped down in Tenom town could be worth RM1 million, he said, adding that appropriate action should be taken against those responsible for felling the tree, which was one of four iconic rain trees in Tenom.
Meanwhile, Wong said it was saddening to note that the tree was chopped down to make way for a public toilet project under the Tenom District Council.
“I am really sad because this defeats the government’s efforts to turn Sabah into a green state,” he said.
“Just early this week Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir launched a tree planting programme.”
Wong questioned the need to build more public toilets in Tenom town, as there are already two public toilets there, one near a petrol station and the other near the railway station.
“On the one hand the state government is spending a lot of money to plant trees as it wants to tell the world that we want a green state.
“Then on the other hand, a local authority chopped down a 100-year-old tree,” he lamented.
There used to be four century-old trees; two near the train station and two near the shoplots adjacent to the train station.
One of the two trees near the shoplots has been felled.
Some owners of the shoplots have also expressed dismay over the felling of the tree, as it had been there since their childhood, when they played around it.
They questioned the wisdom of sacrificing the high value tree for a public toilet project, for there must be other potential sites at the area for the project.