Lee Lam Thye urges DBKL to step up tree maintenance after tragedy

THE latest incident of a large tree uprooting and killing a person in Kuala Lumpur must be a wake-up call for City Hall to take proactive measures, says prominent activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The Alliance for Safe Community founder and chairman said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) needs to step up tree maintenance, especially in the city centre.

“Cases of trees falling have become rampant in the Klang Valley, triggered by the extreme weather.

“DBKL’s Landscape Department must increase inspections and maintenance of such trees, many of which are more than 30 years old.

“They can work with the forestry department or private arborists to ensure the trees are safe,” he told The Star.

The former Kuala Lumpur advisory board member said urgent action must be taken to prevent such incidents from happening again.

“For many years, I have been asking DBKL to prune or fell trees that are no longer safe.

“Falling trees and branches affect traffic and can lead to property and life loss.

“One life lost due to such incidents is too many,” he said.

One person died, and another was injured after a tree fell on Jalan Sultan Ismail, hitting 17 vehicles during the incident.

In 2019, it was reported that DBKL maintains some 600,000 trees in Kuala Lumpur.

The then Kuala Lumpur mayor, Datuk Seri Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, was also quoted as saying that DBKL hoped to employ 15 arborists by 2025, up from the six arborists in its Landscape and Recreation Development Department.

Earlier, the DBKL Kuala Lumpur Command and Control Centre (KLCCC) stated that 30 DBKL personnel from four departments, including traffic wardens, its rescue squad, and Urban Transport, had been mobilised to the site and assisted the traffic police and Fire and Rescue Department personnel.

As of 4.53pm, DBKL KLCCC said the damaged vehicles along Jalan Sultan Ismail were in the midst of being towed away.

“Towing services are being carried out by private companies, the police and DBKL.

“Tree cutting is also being done by DBKL and Bomba,” said the DBKL command centre.

In a media statement, DBKL said it anticipated that work to remove the damaged shelters for bus-stops and pedestrian walkways would be completed by tonight.

The affected stretch of Jalan Sultan Ismail is closed for the clean-up work.

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