While the state works on the guidelines for its ‘Celebrity Walk’, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) is up in arms over the idea.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the walk, which would entail prominent personalities adopting trees along the Esplanade route, was a “very bad idea”.
“We are definitely against this because trees belong to everyone, including birds and insects. You cannot just adopt a tree and put your name on it — this is equivalent to vandalism because no one should claim ownership of nature,” he said when contacted on Friday.
He also questioned what would happen if those who adopted the trees later decide to chop it down, erect cement walls around the tree, or pin notices on the tree, making it be an eyesore.
Mohamed Idris said there are other ways for the state to generate income for its coffers, adding that they should get the public to sponsor the planting of trees instead.
On Feb 28, State Tourism Development, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang said Penang would have its own ‘Celebrity Walk’ — similar to Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars walkway.
The Avenue of Stars walkway along Victoria Harbour, has name plaques on the ground, some with autographs and handprints of popular celebrities from the Hong Kong film industry.
The state’s version would have commemorative plaques of prominent personalities on the 30-odd trees lining the Esplanade.
He told The Star that the country’s top sporting personalities and a celebrity shoe designer would be among the recipients of the celebrity walk.
“Squash’s World No. 1 Datuk Nicol David, badminton ace Datuk Lee Chong Wei and shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo were selected because they are prominent personalities who have made the state proud.
“We are still getting public feedback on who to include but there have been a few enquiries from individuals keen on being featured and we are still working on the selection guidelines which should be ready in two months,” he said.
“Those who want to adopt a tree must pay a minimum of RM1,000 for a basic plaque - if they want additional decorations, they will have to pay more.
“The aim of this walk is to highlight prominent personalities, create a new tourist attraction, and raise funds for the state,” he said.