KUCHING: Ting Phek Khiing, one of the richest men in Sarawak, has come under fire again for billing the state goverment RM7.5 million for chopping 300 trees along Jalan Tun Jugah.It was done ostensibly to pave the way for the construction of a flyover without approval from the authorities.

Sarawak DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen who has been calling for the authorities to act on the matter, wants action to be taken immediately against Ting.“How come Ting could go and chop those trees when there was no approval for the construction of a flyover at Jalan Tun Jugah?And now he wants the government to pay him RM7.5 million, an average of RM25,000 per tree,” said Chong, the MP for Bandar Kuching.

“All the trees have gone just because Ting wanted to chop down the trees. And the worst thing is that the authorities could not do anything about it.
“Regardless of how rich you are, the authorities should know that everyone is equal before the law. Just because he is a Tan Sri does not place him above the law,” said Chong.He was responding to a news item which quoted James Chan, the mayor of Bandar Kuching as rubbishing Chong’s claims that the council spent RM7.5 million to cut down the trees.

“We don't have that kind of money. If the council has RM7.5 million, I would be able to build a better Kuching. I keep on dreaming of that kind of money, but it never comes,” said Chan.In response, Chong said: “I can provide a Sept 5 paper cutting where Ting acknowledged that RM7.5 million was incurred to chop down the trees.
“He can ask his good friend Ting Phek Khiing,” the DAP MP said. “Who gave Ting the authority or the approval for him to cut down the trees? As a mayor, Chan has a lot to answer.“From what I know, the approval should have come from the state secretary,” he said.