KOTA KINABALU June 23, 2012: When common sense is not common, a century old tree which is part of Tenom’s heritage will have to give way to a public toilet.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun could have believed that the best sense was common sense and that those making decisions would abide by it and be counselled by the sense.
But Masidi was surely disappointed.
His short message reply on the fate of the 100-year-old tree reads: “I have always assumed that those making decisions at all levels of the government machinery have common sense and they are expected to fully use it so that they make correct decision.”
Sharing the same sentiments was PKR Sabah secretary, Dr Roland Chia who said that many European and Asian countries took great pains and spend great amount of funds to preserve heritage sites in order to leave behind a legacy for their future generations and also because such sites were deemed touristic historical sites.
“However, Tenom has decided to kill the golden goose that could potentially bring tourism to these heritage sites,” he said.
UBF co-founder, Nilakrishna James on the other hand was philosophical saying that everything that was good, solid and of real value to the world would be brought down, stripped of all that it was worth to make way for crap.
“In this country, it has become a norm,” she said.
Borneo Rhino Alliance executive director Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne also lamented the felling of the century-old rain tree, saying that the only reasonable justification to cut down a century old tree was public safety and no alternative treatment.
The cutting down of the tree was highlighted to the press by and environment activist, Dr CY Vun recently.
Vun said the felling of the tree to make way for a public toilet in Tenom District Council had defeated the government’s effort to turn Sabah into a green state.
He also said that the tree could be worth more than RM1 million since it’s older than the 90-year-old rain tree at Wisma Muis which has an estimated worth of RM600,000.
“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. On the other hand, a local authority has chopped down a 100-year-old tree.”