On Feb 24, the Kuala Lumpur mayor met residents and parties concerned over the long-standing problems of stalls at the Lucky Garden Hawker Centre in Bangsar.
During the visit, the mayor told those present that no decision had been made regarding the upgrading or relocation of the stalls there. He promised that his team would engage with all stakeholders and
further discussions would take place, with the next meeting to be held on March 10.
But come March 10, the executive director (project management) said a decision had been made to upgrade the stalls.This move went against the mayor’s
promises. Don’t the stakeholders matter? Why did they even bother with the meeting? We are truly disappointed in the mayor’s department heads.
Why would anyone encourage the upgrading of these 24 stalls when six licences have been cancelled? Most of the remaining ones should also be cancelled owing to the many infringements of the Rules and Regulations of the Street Stalls statutory.
Furthermore, several of the stalls are so popular that the original lease agreement, which supports low-income stall operators belonging to the B40 group with low patronage, does not make sense anymore.
These popular stalls are earning an average of RM7,000 per day. Why should they enjoy unfair trading practices and receive special treatment such as rent-free privilege? Taxpayers’ money will go towards the refurbishment of stalls whose owners have not paid rent for the past 22 years.I would also like to point out that prior to the closure of the stalls on Feb 10 by the Federal Territory Health Department for violation of the Food Act 1983, the Health and Environment Department, led by director Datin Dr Noor Akma Shabudin, visited the stalls on Jan 9.
She and the entourage seemingly ignored the filth in and around the stalls and signed off by placing several “no smoking” notices.
Upgrading the stalls is not a long-term solution. As it is, the stalls are within a confined space and the area cannot accommodate the current traffic. In years to come, this problem will multiply. To-date, no solution is available to exterminate the crows here and allowing the stalls to remain will exacerbate the problem.
Snakes and rats have also made the area unhygienic. The long-term effect of uncontrolled pests and unhygienic practices by stall operators will impact the environment and have dire consequences.
Installing cubicle toilets and providing tow trucks is a short-term measure. In time, the toilets will probably not be maintained properly and towing will cease (like how the mayor ceased the clamping of vehicles last year).
Horrendous traffic and cars blocking the entrances of houses are some of the other daily challenges faced by the residents of Jalan Cenderai for over 20 years.
To make matters worse, the executive director has decided to demolish the pocket park here at the request of street hawkers. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money will be wasted.
In a recent town hall meeting, the mayor said he would take responsibility for the past mayors’ actions. In 1998, former mayor Tan Sri Kamaruzzaman Shariff promised to relocate the stalls. It has been more than 20 years since.
We are wondering, what is DBKL department heads’ true intentions and can the current mayor walk the talk?
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