GEORGE TOWN, Jan 16 — Penang Gerakan Acting Youth chief Jason Loo Jieh Sheng planted two trees on "Botak Hill" this morning in a bid to push for it to be fully restored.
Loo, who named the saplings "Always Green", said it has been years since the hill, also known as Bukit Relau was illegally cleared but it still remained bare.
"So we decided to make the first move to plant trees on the hill and we also invite nature lovers, environmental activists, NGOs, DAP state assemblyman YB Teh Yee Cheu to support this effort to plant a tree each," he said.
He hoped this move will spur the Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow to care more about restoring the hill.
"We also hope the public will come up to plant trees on this hill to make it green again instead of waiting for the state government that has let it remain botak all these years," he said while at the bottom of the hill this morning.
Loo claimed that the roads leading to the hill have been widened and yet the hill had remained "botak".
"The widening of the road is not necessary, the hill should be restored to its previously green state before it was illegally cleared," he said.
Botak Hill became a controversial issue in 2013 due to illegal land clearing works and the bared parts are apparent from afar especially from the Penang bridge.
The landowner has since been charged and fined in court for illegally clearing the land and was told to restore the hill through extensive mitigation works.
Loo said he may even invite Penang Gerakan Chairman Teng Chang Yeow to plant a tree on the hill to encourage Lim and Chow to take care of the hill.
He claimed that Lim was reported in November 2015 as saying that the hill will be completely green by the end of 2016.
He also claimed that Chow had reportedly said in October 2015 that the hill mitigation works will be completed by January 2016.
"It is now January 2017 and the hill is still 'botak' (bald)," he said