THE food stalls next to the Stadium Perak, where a tree fell and crushed a car during a thunderstorm recently, is in a state of neglect.
Hawkers and customers alike want the Ipoh City Council to carry out repairs and proper maintenance at the council food court, saying that accidents are bound to happen if left as it is.
Fei Kee noodle stall owner Lee Choy Mui, 49, said they had been complaining for years about the overgrown trees in the area but to no avail.
“We have been appealing to the council to cut down the large, tall trees in front of our stalls for fear the trees would get uprooted and collapse on our stalls and true enough, one of the trees, although it was across the road, did get uprooted and collapsed on a parked car two weeks ago,” she said.
On April 13, hardware store worker Michael Leong’s Proton Wira was destroyed when a falling tree crushed the vehicle, breaking it into two parts, during a thunderstorm.
Leong was having lunch with friends at the food stalls during the 3pm incident.
According to Lee, her car was just parked next to Leong’s on the day of the incident.
“The tree narrowly missed my car.
“I am still thanking God for sparing me the stress of seeing my car destroyed.
“But with so many big trees around here, there is no guarantee that there will be no repeat of the incident,” said Lee.
Lee said the hawkers had also been asking the council to do something about the roots of the trees, which were dislodging the floor slabs and displacing the tiles.
“The council has cut down some of the trees but it does not stop the roots from growing underground.
“Many times, people have tripped while walking on the uneven ground,” she said, adding that the roots were growing towards the direction of the stalls.
Lee added that the council had promised to repair the broken awning damaged by the fallen tree but it has not said anything about replacing the floors here.
Nasi Goreng Nusantara stall owner Zaharah Harun, 45, said all the council ever did whenever the hawkers complained about the uneven floor was to send over its officers to take photographs.
“The officers will take photographs, apparently for investigation purposes, and that’s about it.
“Nothing happens after that. It’s been the same practice time after time,” said Zaharah, who has been operating there for the past four years.
The council, she added, did not carry out any maintenance at the food court.
“The tables and stools are shaky because the legs have rusted and corroded.
“Someone is going to fall and hurt his or herself one day.
“I just pray it is not going to be an old person, pregnant lady or child,” she said, adding that the metal frames supporting the awning at the food court were also rusting.
K. Kesavani’s stall, which is a few doors away from Zaharah’s, said her business had suffered after the fallen tree incident.
“My customers are not only reluctant to eat here, they are so afraid of coming here that they don’t even want to pack food from my stall,” said Kesavani, whose stall’s ceiling was damaged when the tree fell.
Both Zaharah and Kesavani are also anxious about another big tree situated near their stall.
“The council said they will chop down the tree but it’s still here till today,” Kesavani told The Star on Friday.
A worker at the food court, who only
wanted to be known as Grace L., said the council had also done a shoddy job of
replacing the metal drain covers at the food court.
“The covers are so flimsy, they could actually give way when we step on them.
“Not only that, there are also gaps between the drain covers because they are not placed properly,” she said.
Customer Lam Loy Thai, 58, said the council should renovate the food court for the safety and comfort of everyone.
“I can’t eat in peace having this very uneasy feeling whenever I sit here.
“Everything looks and feels unsafe,” she said.
Echoing Lam’s sentiments, a retiree who only wanted to be known as Lai, said the council should do something to improve the food court.
Lai added that he felt unsafe eating at the food court, which he frequents after his morning swim at the public swimming pool nearby.