Penang Gerakan youth acting chief Jason Loo today took the lead in planting the first tree at Bukit Botak (Bukit Relau) after claiming that the Penang DAP government failed to fulfil its promise over the last three years to green the area.
Loo said he hoped that Penangites would support the move to plant a tree each there and revive the hope to make Bukit Botak green again.
“Time flies and Bukit Botak is still ‘botak’ (barren). Penangites actually prefer trees (to restore the greenery of Bukit Botak) than roads (development on the hill).
“Instead of waiting for the Penang government to fulfil its promise to restore Bukit Botak, why don’t we do our part to take care of our hills. One person plants one tree to restore Bukit Botak,” he said to reporters before planting two trees on the hillside.
Excessive land clearing at Bukit Relau in mid-2013 drew protests from various quarters who questioned the credibility of the DAP-led Penang government.
The Penang Structure Plan 2020 gazetted on June 28, 2007, bans development in areas over 76.2 metres (250 ft) above sea level and on slopes with a gradient of over 25 degrees.
Loo said he would invite Penang Gerakan chairman Teng Chang Yeow to plant a tree there besides nature lovers, environmental activists, non-governmental organisations and DAP assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu to support the effort to plant a tree.
“We need a long time to grow a tree. If we don’t do it now, I am afraid our kids may not see trees in Penang when they grow up,” he said.