WITH “Visit Perak Year” next year, the government must go all out to eradicate the growing problem involving parking touts, especially in the city.
People interviewed said these touts seem to be growing in numbers and becoming more aggressive.
Those interviewed also felt that with Perak making it to the ninth spot of one of the world’s top 10 regions to visit next year by renowned travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet, it was definitely the time to curb touting.
These jaga kereta can be seen in various locations, especially areas where people gather to admire the old world charm of the inner city as well as to savour the tasty hawker food.
Jess Wong, 39, said the touts have been terrorising people near her outlet for the past 11 years.
The manager of an outlet selling decorative items said police will nab the touts and after a few days, they will be back to their old tricks.
She said these parking touts have been taking between RM3 and RM5 from people who park their cars around the area.
“Many people give in as they are too afraid that their vehicles may be damaged if they refuse to pay them.
“Some of the traders have their own parking bay in front of their lots, but sometimes the touts will remove the cone placed to allow others to park there.
“Most people have to pay double, because not only do they give money to the touts, but they also need to purchase parking coupons to avoid getting a summons,” she added.
A trader selling drinks at one of the shop lots within the inner city said sometimes the touts fought among themselves to get customers.
Maggie Chan, 40, said the locals would normally have to pay RM2 to the touts, while those with out-of-town registration number plates, needed to cough up RM5.
“Some of them can earn RM300 per day while people like us have to work hard in order to make a decent living,” she added.
Ben Goh, 38, said one way to curb the menace is to set up a police beat at strategic locations, just like how it is done in Penang.
He said with the presence of the men in blue, the parking touts would not have the guts to openly charge a fee for parking.
“It is time to make sure the city is clean and do away with the illegal parking touts, if the state government is serious about receiving visitors next year.
“The touts not only ask for money, but some of them can turn aggressive.
“One female tout would make a scene each time the authorities come to take her away,” he added.
He said most of the touts would move from one location to another throughout the day and they could make hundreds of ringgit in a day.
“People like us have to pay taxes, rental for the shop lots and fork out for the monthly parking coupons,” he added.
Evelyn Wong, 27, said a permanent solution must be found.
“I have heard of the touts getting into fights with people who refuse to give money to them.
“It is not fair that people have to fork out additional money when they have already purchased parking coupons,” she added.
S. Nangini, 29, said she would usually give RM1 to the parking touts if she needed to park her car within the inner city area.
“I just don’t want to argue with them fearing for my safety and they may damage my car.
“However, these people are such a nuisance and I really wish the state government will do something about it,” she added.
An Ipoh City Council spokesman said the council did not have the power to act against touts.
He said the council had previously been helping the police, the Road Transport Department and the Welfare Department to tackle the issue.
“However, the power to act against the touts lies within the departments mentioned,” he added.