KUALA LUMPUR — The Terengganu government has denied a report alleging that Brazilian silk floss tree that cost RM180,000 (S$57,794) to be transplanted in Bandar Baru Kuala Nerus in Terengganu has died.
According to NST Online, the state government is now considering legal action against those who had made the claims.
“Firstly, the tree is not dead. This species actually ‘hibernates’ and the leaves may have fallen off owing to the hot tropical weather and soil conditions.
“Secondly, we (the state government) did not purchase the tree and are not accountable for its upkeep,” Terengganu’s head of state, Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, was quoted saying.
“So please do not drag us into the controversy. The matter had been explained at length before and is considered closed,” he added, saying that would refer the matter to the state legal advisor for further action.
According to a Berita Harian report on Thursday, the RM180,000 tree that was imported from Brazil died due to unsuitable weather, soil and fertilisers.
“It is truly a pity that the unique tree died; however, it could not be avoided due to the weather factor,” state Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Energy and Green Technology committee chairman Rosli Othman told the newspaper.
“Though the weather in Brazil and Malaysia is hot, there still are differences which made it unsuitable for the tree to live here.”
He said that there is also no plan to replace the tree.
The tree, known by its scientific name Ceiba Chodatii, became the centre of a controversy after state Opposition questioned the expenditure to import it from Brazil to be transplanted here.
The Public Works Department (PWD) in January clarified that the outlay did not come from public coffers.
Terengganu PWD director Ab Hamid Md Daud said the purchase of the trees were borne by the main contractor of the project and was not included in the scope of the project. MALAY MAIL ONLINE