Before the renovation of KTM Square there were many trees around Ipoh’s iconic railway station. Now it is barren. Thus the tagline about Ipoh being green and developing, as touted by Ipoh City Council, is inaccurate.
The only tree left standing within the station grounds is the 30-year-old Ipoh Tree (Antiaris Toxicara). An audit of trees by the National Landscape Department from 2008 to 2010 in 28 local councils nationwide valued the Ipoh Tree at RM123,735.60. The tree stands tall; however the area around the tree is unkempt. The department credits Ipoh City Council for its initiative in providing information on the management of trees in the city.
That is remarkable. But what has come of the 120-year-old raintrees (Albizizsaman) along Jalan Seenivasagam? They are valued at RM1,301,900.98? Incidentally, the raintrees around the Lake Gardens in Taiping, valued at RM1,068,712.84, are still there.
With climatic change and global warming trees are an asset.
On April 13, the Taiping Heritage Trail was launched with much fanfare. We were, however, told that it would only be operational in 2016. The Perak Mosque Trail was launched by the Menteri Besar on August 13. Unfortunately, until today there are no brochures on the trail. It is a good marketing strategy but is off the mark.
An officer from National Heritage Department proudly announced that almost 40 per cent of heritage sites and monuments listed under the National Heritage Act 2005 are in Perak. So what? Does he realise that some of those listed like Kuala Kangsar’s Istana Kenangan has been closed for almost 5 years, as the integrity of the building is at stake.
Mesjid Kg Kuala Dal is undergoing a second restoration work. What went wrong with the first work? Rumah Besar Raja Bilah in Papan is in dire need of another repair work due to a leaking roof. What has come of the Old Post Office Building in Ipoh? It has been declared a heritage building years ago but nothing is happening there now.
We still have a long way to go. If and unless concerted efforts are taken to address prevailing problems we will forever be stuck in a time warp. This is the likely scenario I foresee coming our way.
There is definitely a lack of foresight on the part of the authorities. Much money and time have been expended for no apparent reasons.