DESPITE the complaints of Ipoh folk, parking touts continue being a nuisance in the city by acting as parking attendants and asking for money.
Those interviewed by The Star said they were still bound to encounter one or two parking touts in the city area, especially during weekends and public holidays where it becomes busier with tourists and Ipoh residents alike.
A kindergarten teacher who only wanted to be known as Chan, 52, said she has never seen any enforcement officers from the Ipoh City Council patrolling the streets to get rid of this problem.
“They are everywhere in the city area, as long as you are looking for a parking spot, they will be there to ‘assist’ you.
“Even though sometimes it is up to you to decide how much to pay them, the minimum fee is RM1 and I would just pay up because I fear that they will become aggressive and scold me if I do not,” she told The Star when she was buying food along Jalan Leong Sin Nam recently.
She added there were times she still had to pay them despite her scratching a parking coupon to be placed on her car’s dashboard.
“I think the city council should step up its enforcement as soon as possible,” she said.
It was reported in June that city councillor Lai Kong Phooi had brought up the problem of touts collecting fees illegally in the city during weekends and weekdays after 6pm.
Some of the roads in the city that are filled with touts are Jalan Veerasamy, Jalan Leong Sin Nam and Jalan Laksamana.
He had suggested for more police beat bases around the city and a hotline number that connects directly to the Ipoh City Council’s enforcement department for people to report this problem.
Also in agreement with Chan was student Ben Ooi, 21, who comes to the city area with his family at least once a week to have meals.
“I have not seen enforcement officers patrolling the city area to control the problem, even if they do, it is to issue parking summonses.
“My parents and I hope that the authorities can do something about it before it completely tarnishes the image of Ipoh to tourists,” he said.
He added that parking touts would always approach his family for parking fees every time they were in the city.
“They are also smart. If they know you are from Ipoh by your number plate, maybe they might just ask for RM1.
“But if you come from other states, they would insist that you pay RM2 or RM3,” he said, adding that some of his friends who come from Kuala Lumpur have complained about this issue to him before.
Ben also said as they were perfectly capable men, this should not be the way for them to earn money.
“There are many job opportunities in Ipoh if they looked hard enough.
“I am sure that there is a more decent way for them to earn money instead of doing this to make a quick buck,” he said.
Former state executive councillor Datuk G. Rajoo, who comes to the city on weekends to savour some of Ipoh’s famous delicacies, concurred that the city council should work together with other bodies to solve this issue.
“They cannot just allow these touts to continue asking for money from people.
“If this problem is not solved, some might think that being lazy is not a problem at all because earning money this way is convenient,” he said.
He added that the most he had to pay them was RM3 to RM4.
“I feel obligated to pay them because if I do not, they might scratch my car. That would only cost me even more money,” he said.