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Malaysia man’s viral stunt of planting banana tree in pothole gets road repaired within hours

Frustrated over the authority’s inaction, a Malaysian man planted a banana tree in a pothole on a road to draw attention to the problem.

Mahathir Aripin from Jalan Sandakan-Lahad Datu village in Sabah posted a photo of the banana tree standing almost in the middle of the road on his Facebook page.

The base of the tree was covered with some soil to ensure it stood erect.

He also posted a message expressing his concern for those using the road and humorously suggested he might use tar next time.

“I feel sorry for the road users. I’ll cover it with tar next time,” he said on 29 January.

Seeing the response to his Facebook post, the local authorities responsible for road safety – the Sabah Public Works Department – started work to repair the road.

Reports said the pothole was filled within hours of Mr Aripin bringing attention to it.

The public works department blamed continuous rain as a reason for delay in the road maintenance.

This method of highlighting road repair issues is not unprecedented. There have been cases reported in Kedah in the country, and even in Florida, US.

The authorities acted within hours of the viral post and repaired the road the same day (Sabah Public Works Department / Facebook)
The authorities acted within hours of the viral post and repaired the road the same day (Sabah Public Works Department / Facebook)

Mr Aripin’s post sparked a conversation on road conditions in Malaysia.

On social media, several commentators commended his effort to bring attention to the problem of road safety and maintenance.

One jokingly said that he should have planted a durian tree whose fruit is notoriously foul-smelling instead of a banana tree.

Others responded with the laughter emoji while some called his attempt to plant a banana tree in the pothole “naughty”.

The pothole’s location was about 500m from the spot where a recent accident claimed the life of a 4-year-old girl, believed to have been caused by a pothole.

According to Malaysia’s Road Safety Plan 2022-2030, the country aims to reduce road deaths by 50 per cent by 2030.