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Saturday August 9, 2008

Residents see red over cut trees

THE 30 pine trees chopped off to its stumps at a field in USJ 11/3 have got residents in the neighbourhood all riled up.

The trees planted by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) 15 years ago. were cut on Thursday morning.

The residents said the trees had grown to the height of a two-storey building. However, they were on a piece of private land.

A USJ 11/3 Residents Association committee member, who wanted to be known only as Ng, said the bare land had now become an ugly sight as the trees had provided landscaping and enhanced the beauty of the area.

Ugly sight: The pine trees that were chopped to its stumps inside the fenced up private land in USJ 11/3.

He claimed the trees were chopped off the day after a public hearing was convened by the MPSJ on a proposal submitted in to develop the piece of land.

“The residents who attended the hearing had objected to the proposed development of a food court-cum-kindergarten, multi-storey apartments and two-and-half-storey houses,” said Ng.

“We also informed the council that the land needed proper upkeeping as it was overgrown with shrubs at one stage.

“And out of frustration perhaps, the trees were all cut down the next day by the landowner.”

Another resident called Jeffrey had also wrote about the matter in his blog, citing the action as “unthinkable”.

“During the hearing, we made our views clear that a lot of residents wanted the land to be kept as green lung.

“Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh was also at the meeting,” he said.

MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan, when contacted, said the council could not do much because the area was private land.

“I have personally gone down to the site and saw overgrown shrubs and bushes.

“So perhaps it’s just a difference in perception; and so in this case the trees were cut,” claimed Adnan.

He said unless the trees were on areas under the council’s jurisdiction, then he could take the necessary action.

He said a development order had been submitted but no approvals were granted so far.

“We will issue a compound RM25,000 if work starts on the land without council approval,” said Adnan.

When told that there have been cases of councils ordering the developer to replant the trees, Adnan said MPSJ did not contain such by-laws.

Local government expert Derek Fernandez said in Petaling Jaya, there was a blanket prohibition under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 in which trees above 0.8 metres in height could not be cut, even if they were on private land.

“However, I don’t know if the Subang Jaya council has this ruling,” said Derek.

“But in Petaling Jaya, permission must be sought from the local council first before cutting the trees, unless they pose a danger or safety threat.”

Yeoh, when contacted, said during the meeting, the owner had informed the council that he would clean up the land, including cutting of the trees.

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