KEPONG MP Lim Lip Eng is alleging that some Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officers may be taking bribes from eateries which had been placing tables and chairs on parking lots and sidewalks.
According to Lim, at least 10 coffee shops had hijacked public parking lots for their business at the Metro Perdana commercial area of Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, recently.
“After I lodged a complaint with DBKL, their enforcement team did come and removed the chairs and tables, as per their regulations,’’ he said.
“But they were back in action the very next day and the owners managed to get their items back,’’ he said, adding there was supposed to be a one month grace period before the seized items can be released to the owners.
“Not everyone is doing this, but no doubt there are some rotten apples (in the DBKL enforcement team),’’ he said.
Lim said that Metro Perdana is notorious for this (eateries placing tables and chairs on parking lots) and his complaints have often fallen on deaf ears.
“People are always complaining to me that there are no places to park in the area and the situation is also affecting public safety,’’ he said.
When contacted, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said eateries are only allowed to place tables and chairs on sidewalks and the corridors in front of restaurants.
“And they have to apply for permission,’’ he said.
“This will also depend on the size of the sidewalk and corridor in question but that does not guarantee approval,’’ he said.
“They are not allowed to place the tables and chairs on the roadside and parking lots.
"We have carried out enforcement where parking lots have been hijacked by restaurants and we have confiscated their goods (tables and chairs).
"But they can be very stubborn and they keep coming back,’’ he said.
Earlier in the day, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said that whenever DBKL enforces its guidelines, it always faces resistance from eateries that place tables and chairs on parking lots and sidewalks.
He told reporters this at the launch of the Buy Malaysia First event at the Pasar Seni MRT station, KL.
“We do not encourage it. But it's happening because some of this people have been doing it for years and years and cannot change,’’ he said.
“We will re-look some of the areas where this is happening. Public safety must be the priority here.’’
Khalid added that not all areas are suitable for dining outside.
"In fact areas that are open to main road traffic with no safety features like railings will be reviewed."
Khalid was commenting on National Road Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye's statement that the authorities should initiate a policy to govern the safety of the public at roadside eateries.
On Sunday night, a four-wheel drive rammed into a table at an open-air area of a hawker centre in Serdang, Selangor, killing a diner.
Lee said that the relevant agencies, especially the local authorities, should view this latest tragedy seriously and initiate a policy governing safety for the public when eating on public roads.
“Such tragedies have happened before but were forgotten,” he said, citing an incident that occurred in June 2003 in Section 14, Petaling Jaya, where a car rammed into diners who were seated outside a 24-hour mamak restaurant.
“It was reported that the local authority then declared that all food outlets and restaurants, including mamak stalls, would have to stop placing tables and chairs outside their premises," said Lee.
“But due to short memory and poor enforcement, there are still many eateries which place tables and chairs outside their premises.”