May 21, 2009 By IVAN LOH
IPOH: The city council here has rejected an application by Perak DAP to erect a “democracy plaque” under the raintree in Taman Istana which hosted the so-called “under the tree” March 3 sitting of the Perak State Assembly.
Ipoh Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim said the place has had a string of “controversial incidents” that had jeopardised the peacefulness of the city.
He said he had received complaints from residents about disturbances in the area.
“This place has been used for unhealthy activities, like people using the tree to get four-digit lottery numbers,” Roshidi said after convening a special council meeting here Thursday.
“There have also been people who tried to exploit the tree for religious purposes,” he claimed.
He said upon considering all the factors concerned, it was best to snub the application to build the plaque.
Perak DAP had applied to erect a “democracy plaque” under the tree late last month when the old one was removed by the city council.
The plaque was built to commemorate the emergency meeting that was held under the tree on March 3.
Roshidi said there would always be certain quarters who wanted the plaque, while others would want to destroy it.
“Tension will arise when there are always two parties fighting over it,” he said, adding that disorder would reign if there were no stop to it.
“As Datuk Bandar (Mayor), I feel very sad over the matter and I only want peace in the city,” he said, adding that the tree was not the source of the problem, but the state’s political impasse was.
Barisan Nasional took over the state government after three assemblymen from Pakatan Rakyat quit their respective parties and pledged their support to the ruling coalition earlier this year.
The validity of the take-over is still being challenged in the courts in a series of suits and countersuits.