BUSINESS owners operating along Jalan Sepadu in Taman United, off Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur, who have been hijacking public parking bays in front of their shops for many years, got a shock recently when Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)’s Seputeh branch conducted a surprise operation.
The shop owners who would place old broken motorcycles, bicycles, cones, plastic tubs and rubbish bins to illegally reserve the bays for the entire day, were spotted hurriedly removing the obstructions as soon as they saw the DBKL vehicles approaching.
Some who were caught off guard when the officers approached their shops, denied the obstructive items belonged to them, claiming that they belonged to the tenants above their shops.
“This is typical behaviour,” said Insp Omar Abdul Ghani who led the operation.
“When they get caught, they deny by saying that the old bicycles and motorcycles are not theirs to avoid getting a summons,” he said.
“Since we don’t know who are the true owners, we can only remove the items,’’ Omar added.
During the operation, several business owners approached the DBKL officers, complaining about the hijacking of the parking bays.
One lady whipped out her mobile phone to show the officer pictures of culprits placing the barriers on the said bays.
“Tolong ambil tindakan, tuan (Please take action, sir),’’ she pleaded with the officers.
“Susah nak dapat parking (so hard to get a parking spot).’’
A business owner with two shoplots next to one another – one for a Chinese medicine shop and the other for Chinese traditional treatment – said she needed to book the space for her patients.
Several residents living in Taman United also approached the DBKL officers to complain about shops renting several parking bays for over three months.
“Jalan Sepadu is a highly congested road and the parking bays are precious commodity,” said Margaret Cheah, a resident living in Jalan Sepakat 7.
“DBKL should not be renting out parking bays for such long periods.
“The most maybe three weeks during festival periods, but three to four months is ridiculous.”
Cheah was responding to a shop owner who had rented four parking bays from DBKL and erected a structure on the spot, which he placed his products.
“These people are depriving others from parking and worse still, creating congestion,” said Wong Wei Ping, another resident.
“Things get really bad during the loading and unloading of goods, where two-way lanes become one during peak hours.
A DBKL officer told StarMetro that they would not recommend giving out permits to shop owners to utilise parking bays for business for long periods.
“It is not conducive for busy roads like Jalan Sepadu,’’ he said.
“But parking operations have been privatised and decisions like giving out permits to rent parking bays come from headquarters (DBKL), so our hands are tied,” he said.
StarMetro also noticed that during the operation, owners of illegal stalls operating on public walkways who had abandoned their stall for weeks, mysteriously appeared to remove their stalls.
Shop owners who had rented four parking bays for several months were also seen removing the obstructions.
“Seputeh is very big and there is extensive ground to cover, so we cannot be monitoring Jalan Sepadu every day,” Omar said.
“We hope the community, both the businesses and residents, will be more understanding and be considerate of everyone’s feelings and work things out,” he said.
The hijacking of parking bays by shop owners is not only at Jalan Sepadu but also in Jalan Mega Mendung, Jalan Lazat 1, where parking bays are limited.
DBKL is in the midst of revamping the criteria on eligibility to reserve council parking bays in the city.
Its appointed parking operator, Vista Summerose Sdn Bhd, was instructed to suspend the renewal and new application for parking bays for rent, last year.
Out of 40,000 council parking bays in the city, 3,000 were reserved spots and since the suspension, more than 2,000 parking bays were released to the public.