Differring views on reopening of PJ public parks

Those jogging and cycling in public parks are reminded to keep a safe distance. This photo was taken early last month, before the announcement of park closures. — Filepic

PETALING Jaya residents have different opinions on reopening public parks for recreational activities.

While some feared that Covid-19 would spread easily if they were opened to the public, others argued that people should not live in fear as staying indoors for long stretches was not healthy.

Friends of Taman Aman chairman G. Rajendram said he had been inundated with calls from park-goers asking if they could continue their jogging and walking activities.

“Senior citizens, especially, want the parks to open. Some wheelchair users also want to enjoy the fresh air at the parks, ” he said.

He added that parks were a safer option for the elderly who sometimes jogged along main roads.

Rajendram said a banner in Taman Aman park which stated that only neighbourhood parks were allowed to open, were causing confusion.

“Technically Taman Aman is a neighbourhood park. We are also unsure of the standard operating procedure, ” he said.

Jeffrey Phang, chairman of MyPJ, a coalition of Petaling Jaya Residents Associations, said Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) should consider reopening the parks with strict SOP in place.

He said people were stressed staying at home for long periods of time and outdoor activities in a safe space such as parks would help improve the situation.

Strict enforcement would enable park-goers to follow the SOP at popular parks in the city, he added.

Malar Jayaraj, a regular park-goer, said there was a need to evolve with the current situation.

“Don’t let fear rule and be informed of what needs to be done. Do not go out unnecessarily.

“I think parks should reopen. Having recreational activities at parks will help, ” she said.

Friends of Bukit Gasing committee member Rajesh Mansukhla, however, is of the opinion that parks should remain closed for the next few weeks.

Reopening larger parks such as Taman Jaya, Taman Aman and the one in Kelana Jaya will encourage people to congregate.

“This would be risky. It is best to wait a few more weeks for Covid-19 cases to drop, ” he said, suggesting that MBPJ first ensure the public use the MySejahtera app at parks.

“I have not seen temperature being taken or even the use of the app (for contact tracing) at these parks.

“Who is going to manage the crowd at the parks? Will it be the council or police?” asked Rajesh, adding that although he and his grandchildren were frustrated at being confined in their home, it was vital that parks be safe for visitors.

“I am not sure how the council plans to sanitise the equipment at parks. We need these issues to be ironed out first before the parks reopen, ” he said.

On Bukit Gasing, he said it had narrow hiking trails and there was bound to be close contact among hikers.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohd Sayuthi Bakar told StarMetro that the police would decide which parks could be open to the public and that the men in blue would issue summonses to those breaking the rule.

“For the time being, we are still keeping the parks closed. However, smaller neighbourhood parks are open for jogging and cycling activities, ” he said.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently announced that recreational fishing, gyms as well as golf and driving institutes were permitted to resume.

These activities include games like tennis, ping-pong and badminton, as well as two and four-wheel motorsports.

Among the parks in Petaling Jaya that are closed are Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya, Taman Tasik Komuniti Kelana Jaya, Taman Jaya, Taman Aman, Taman PJS 10, Taman Rimba Riang in Kota Damansara, Taman Railway, Taman Bandar Tasik Mutiara Damansara, Taman Padang Kota in Kota Damansara, Taman Section 8, Kota Damansara, Taman Ara Damansara, Taman Ara PJU 1A/29, Taman Centre Spine, Bandar Sri Damansara and Taman Section 6 Kota Damansara.

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