GEORGE TOWN, May 14 — Penang’s two city councils in Penang have been ordered to carry out close inspections of all trees statewide, especially during the rainy season.

State local government committee chairman H’ng Mooi Lye said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) have been told to compile a tree-maintenance report and submit it by this week.

“We have issued a memo to both councils and asked them to inspect all trees in the state and submit a report,” he told reporters when asked to comment on a recent incident in which two large trees along Macalister Road fell over and damaged several vehicles parked there during a storm.

Similar incidents of trees toppling and damaging vehicles during heavy rains have occurred in the central business district in Kuala Lumpur recently, with the latest happening yesterday in Jalan Pinang while Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh and several police outriders were passing by.

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An earlier incident on the nearby Jalan Sultan Ismail in the national capital on May 7 saw the death of a 47-year-old Malaysian man and two others injured – a 26-year-old Malaysian man and a 72-year-old Swedish woman.

In Penang, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Joshua Woo Sze Zeng has called for an aggressive masterplan to take care of old and large trees to ensure it does not pose any danger to the public.

H’ng said the city councils have been conducting periodic inspections on old trees aged between 80 and 100 years before the incident.

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“They have also appointed contractors to trim the branches,” he added.

He said the old trees are a “treasure” but their condition must be safe and not be a danger the public

H’ng said there are more than a million trees in the state and the state is still gathering data on the number of old trees.

He said the city councils are required to maintain trees under their jurisdiction as per the Local Government Act.

“Penangites are sensitive when it comes to the issue of trees so if we need to remove any large trees, we have to be very careful or be subjected to criticisms and complaints,” he said.

Earlier, H’ng attended the launch of the RM7 million Sungai Nibong bus terminal upgrading project.

The project was fully completed last month and features a centralised ticketing system, escalators, an expanded second floor and better facilities for the disabled.