Poisonous trees in school compound chopped down


THE Hura Crepitans trees (Payung Indonesia) which caused mass fruit poisoning at SMK Mergong in Alor Setar have been chopped down.

Six workers from a private firm started to cut down the 11 trees at the school compound from 11am yesterday using a chainsaw.

By 4pm, some of the tree trunks and branches had been cut into small pieces and loaded onto a lorry.

Che Samad Saidin, 37, said his company was tasked to carry out the chopping of the trees.

“We’ve cut down 10 trees. The last one will be chopped down tomorrow (today).

Health hazard: Che Samad showing the fruit of the ‘Payung Indonesia’ trees at SMK Mergong in Alor Setar, Kedah.
Health hazard: Che Samad showing the fruit of the ‘Payung Indonesia’ trees at SMK Mergong in Alor Setar, Kedah.
 

“Most of them were located at the back of the school near the surau.”

The move to chop down the trees came after 22 students, mostly athletes and sepak takraw players, were rushed to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital on March 10 with seizures, vomiting and diarrhoea.

They had apparently consumed the fruit’s pulp in the belief that it could give them extra energy and stamina.

Following the incident, hospital director Datuk Dr Juita Ghazalie advised the public not to eat ‘unknown’ fruits as they could be poisonous.

State Education Department director Datin Azuyah Hassan said the move was initiated by the school.

“We didn’t order them to chop down the trees.

“However, we welcome the move as the trees were in their compound,” she said.

It’s understood that fruit poisoning cases related to the Hura Crepitans trees had also occurred in the school seven years ago.

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