New Straits Times

‘It’s not a freak accident since it has happened before’


KUALA LUMPUR: The incident where a couple were injured when their motorcycle crashed into a fallen tree in Jalan Ampang here is a reminder to local authoritie­s on the need for a strict maintenanc­e culture and to ensure planted trees are suitable for Malaysian weather.

Former City Hall Advisory Board member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the incident should not be seen as a freak accident since similar cases had been reported before.

He cited a May 4 incident last year where a Form Five student was killed when the motorcycle he was riding on was struck by a falling tree branch in Jalan Ayer Molek, Melaka, and another incident on Oct 12, 2014, where two policemen died when an uprooted tree fell on the Kampung Attap beat base in Kuala Lumpur during a thundersto­rm.

“This latest incident has again proven that public safety is taken for granted despite previous fatal incidents.

“Concerns and suggestion­s made by various parties on the need to monitor the safety of old trees in the city have not been given adequate attention.

“I have, in the past, suggested that local authoritie­s, especially City Hall, focus on efforts to ensure that trees under their jurisdicti­on would not pose a danger to the public, especially during thundersto­rms.

“This is important since under the Greener KL initiative, (City Hall) has targeted to plant 30,000 trees each year, apart from maintainin­g existing ones.”

Road Users Associatio­n of Malaysia president Hamdan Taha said local authoritie­s must ensure that trees planted on roadsides were durable and able to withstand Malaysian weather.

He said there were trees that were beautiful and suitable for landscapin­g purposes, but might not be suitable for roadsides as they did not have roots that go deep into the ground.

“These trees are located in areas which are frequented by the public, such as parks and roadsides, so regular trimming and pruning need to be carried out.

“Although Malaysia is not hit by typhoons or tornadoes, we have heavy rain and strong wind that can uproot trees, so maintenanc­e of trees is vital.”

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