KUALA LUMPUR: Businesses along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman will shut on March 15 should the authorities go ahead and close the road to all vehicles except buses on that day.
Some 200 members of the Batu Road Retailers Association (Barra) said they were disappointed with Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad for not engaging with stakeholders before coming to a decision to turn one of the city’s busiest shopping street into a pedestrian walkway.
They have signed a petition and a group of them gathered briefly in the middle of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman as a sign of protest.
Barra vice-president Rohana Nasir said they were informed of the closure move during a meeting with City Hall (DBKL) project management executive director Datuk Mohd Najib Mohd on Jan 21.
“No one bothered to ask the business and property owners what they thought – let alone listen to our feedback. There was no prior engagement.
“They should because we are ratepayers who pay very high assessments for our properties,” Rohana told reporters here yesterday.
Members are also questioning the legitimacy of a Facebook survey carried out by DBKL, which stated that 57% out of 1,000 responses were in favour of the traffic plan.
“Who are these people in favour of the road closure? We don’t know who they are because they are not from here,” claimed Rohana.
The association said it had heard nothing from DBKL about the ways to unload goods, as the back lanes were too narrow for large containers.
“This is made worse by illegal hawkers who set up shop right at our back door. The lack of enforcement by DBKL is not helping,” it said.
Business owners also expressed worry over speculation that DBKL was planning to allow stalls to be set up along the road once it was closed to traffic.
“Those who have seen the rubbish left behind by the stalls in Jalan Masjid India will agree that this is a bad idea,” they said, adding that this would devalue their properties and affect their businesses.
Denying that Barra was issuing an ultimatum with threats to close shop, Rohana said all stakeholders wanted was for the authorities to sit down for an engagement session with them.
“We want them to hear us before coming to a decision,” said Rohana.
Also present were Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin, Sogo deputy chairman Datuk Andrew Lim, Gulati’s managing director Patvinder Singh and Sky Xchange director Datuk Mohamed Iqbal Ganey.
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