The last time a huge uproar started all because of a tree was back in 2009, in James Cameron's Avatar.
Okay, here's the story: a gigantic silk floss tree - which costs a whopping RM180,000 - has reportedly died, just five months after being imported from Brazil and transplanted in Kuala Nerus.
Terengganu's Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Energy and Green Technology committee chairman Rosli Othman told local daily Berita Harian that the poor tree died due to unsuitable weather and soil.
Although the weather in Brazil is similar to the weather here, Rosli said that other factors made the silk floss tree, known by its scientific name Ceiba Chodatii
, unsuitable to live in Malaysian soil.
“It is truly a pity that the unique tree died; however, it could not be avoided due to the weather factor," he was quoted by the daily as saying.
Now, the people are super angry because back in January, the Terengganu government came under heavy fire after the public questioned the need to purchase and plant an expensive tree using taxpayer money.
The claims were, of course, quickly rubbished by the authorities, saying that no taxpayer money was used
to purchase and import the tree from Brazil.
Plus, the tree dying barely five months later clearly did not help calm the anger.
Anyway, in an attempt to control the situation, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman told The New Straits Times
on Thursday that the tree is NOT dead, it's just hibernating.
“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," he was quoted as saying.
Ahmad Razif then added that the public should stop hating on the Terengganu government because they "did not purchase the tree and are not accountable for its upkeep".
According to Ahmad Razif, the tree was reportedly purchased and imported by the township’s project contractor in an attempt to beautify the park.
We are no tree experts, and a quick Google provided no answers
to whether a Ceiba Chodatii
goes into a hibernative state or not.
So if you know someone who's an expert on trees, do help us check on this and drop us an e-mail.