Friday, May 6, 2011

Ipoh structural plan suggestion and inputs from the public is just a publicity exercise?

Today, DAP comrades, Sdr. Wasoo, Sugu, Muthu, Letch, Tan and Susan appeared with me and presented our views at the Ipoh Structural Plan hearing.

Ipoh City Council (MBI) has set out the proposed Structural Plan for comments and inputs.

MBI first exhibited its findings in early August last year and then had it extended for another month. MBI should have extended it for at least 6months.

We felt there was lack of participation from the public. The lack of interest from the public is nothing surprising.

It took over 5 years for the MBI to prepare the draft Structural Plan. Experts and people involved in the day to day work at MBI were roped in to work out the Draft plan. Why then a short period of only 30 days was given to the public for inputs although it was extended for another 30days?

Inner City Housing.

Waller Court and Sg.Pari flats were built some 50 years ago. Both these flats are not well maintained and they are in dilapidated situation.

The occupancy rate at the flats is less than 50%. Although hundreds of homeless people and many of them from the lower income group have applied to rent the flats, yet many are waiting in the queue for years.

Ipoh City is very quiet in the night. This quietness is because many of those staying in the flats are no more there. Many commute to the City center in the morning for work and to schools. There is substantial congestion in the city.

There is a need to the inner city vibrant in the night, what is needed is to upgrade all the flats. Unless this is done, the shortage of housing in the inner city housing will continue.

In fact new flats need to be built to accommodate the ever increasing demand for affordable housing.

Light Rail Transport System

Ipoh has always been known as a City with little or no traffic jam. Traffic flow used to smooth even at the busiest of times. But in the last few years this has changed.

Ipoh City has over 700, 000 people residing an area covering 637kmsq. The need to set up an underground rail system is long overdue. Many cities of Ipoh size have trains of this nature.

Car Parks at Old Town

Old town business has been affected very badly as there is an acute lack of parking bays. Over the years, little attention and effort has been put by the local authorities to set up new additional parking bays.

Worst still in 2004, over 60 existing parking bays were removed (near the water front project) and a mamak shop was allowed to operate there.

Underground parking and/ or multi storey car park should therefore be constructed.

At the hearing of the above views, I asked the State Financial Officer as to when we would be told of the outcome of our suggestions. We were shocked when told whatever views we gave were only for internal consumption and they are not obliged to revert back to us.

Irrespective whether views submitted are accepted or rejected, the relevant authorities must inform and justify their decisions to those who have made submissions, otherwise this whole exercise of soliciting public suggestions and inputs could well be just a publicity exercise with no consideration for public accountability.

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