Residents: 100 trees felled illegally in Penang

GEORGE TOWN - Residents staying along the tourist belt of Jalan Batu Ferringhi have complained that over 100 trees behind the Mar Vista Resort here were illegally felled.

Demanding that the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) take action against the culprits, a resident, who only wanted to be known as Tan, said the trees were felled last month.

Tan, who is in his 40s, said he had alerted the council about the matter.

"A site inspection was carried out and I was told that the felling of trees had stopped on Dec 9.

"The residents are worried about landslides and soil erosion caused by heavy rains during the monsoon season.

"However, the felled trees were not cleared and some irresponsible people have turned the area into an illegal rubbish dumping site," he said when met at the scene yesterday.

Another resident, who declined to be named, questioned if the site would be replanted with new trees.

MPPP Recreation, Tourism and International Affairs Department director Mohamed Akbar Mustapha said the council was told that the trees had allegedly been felled by owners of nearby bungalow lots as they were worried about burglars climbing in.

"We have since instructed the people in the area to stop felling the trees as a permit was necessary for such an activity even on private land.

"Anyone felling a tree with a girth of 0.8m or more can be charged under the Town and Country Act 1976.

"We will work closely with the Forestry Department to identify the trees that can be replanted at the site," he said, adding that the council's engineering department had checked the site and found no signs of soil erosion.