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An Open letter to Datuk Bandar

Yang TU Yang Ni
Keeping the city clean is a basic requirement of any local authority. It should not be something we wish for but something ratepayers expect and demand. And as for the dress code, Ipohites have made their thinking known.
Dear Datuk Bandar,
Welcome to Ipoh.  I am sure you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful city. Ipohites are a friendly lot but at the same time they are very loyal and passionate about their city and will fight for what they feel is best for Ipoh.
In my opinion Ipoh is the most beautiful city in the country or at least it should be, with our karst landscape, mining pools and greenery. But often we do not appreciate what nature has given us and we do things that spoil the scenery.
For instance to allow skyscrapers right smack beside the limestone hills is most insensitive, bordering on the criminal. Besides that, the public was not consulted on the development. I thought the developer must give notice to the public (especially those directly affected) in order that objections (if any) can be brought before the Council before the building plans are passed. In this case, I don’t remember any public input prior to the building of The Haven. Well that’s done and there is little we can do about it. But in the future perhaps you will bear this in mind.
Question: Will you be running a City Council that is guided by good governance, accountability and transparency or do you intend to ride roughshod over us like all the past mayors? Hopefully, you will not do things “behind our backs”, like when trees in the Ipoh Padang were chopped down in the middle of the night.
Rest assured, that the public does not object for the sake of objecting, any comments they make are for the good of their city. I am sure with inputs from the ratepayers, the Council will do a better job instead of adopting a “we know best” attitude.
The great cities of the world didn’t just happen. They became great because someone had a vision and sold that vision to the residents, who then backed him to pursue the vision.
Question: What is your vision for Ipoh? Is Ipoh going to turn into a cultural city where arts will be encouraged? By the way, what happened to the purported art gallery where a lot of money has been spent, but is still not open?  Will we use the Kinta River for recreation? Will we protect our hills so that we do not get another multi-storey building scarring the view? How will you protect the city’s heritage? Will you stop heritage buildings from being torn down or renovated out of character with the streetscape? The private sector has done a fairly decent job in this respect; how do you intend to promote greater awareness of our heritage and encourage owners to preserve it?
Our young have been leaving Ipoh to find work elsewhere. Some have left for the bright lights of KL (or even Penang), Ipoh being too dull for them.
Question: Do you have a plan to bring investments to Ipoh so that there will be more jobs and our young need not leave the city? And what are you going to do to make Ipoh a livelier place with entertainment for the young?
Penang has a jazz festival and so has Miri. Kuching has the world famous, Rainforest Music Festival.
 Overseas, Brisbane has the Warana Festival, Shenzhen has the World Water Colour Biennial, the International Sculpture Symposium in Hue which has been going on since 1998. All these are calendar events and they have put these cities on the map.
Question: What will you do to put Ipoh on the map?
To encourage more artistic and appreciated use of our rocks I thought a ‘Batu Ipoh’ Festival of Sculptures would be appropriate but this is your call, Datuk Bandar.
From my experience, I have found that most of the previous Datuk Bandars are reluctant to meet the public. They seem happier to keep themselves in the ivory tower on the tenth floor than to do a ‘walkabout’, meeting ordinary people and getting feedback. They will happily meet the titled and rich folks but not the small man. Joko Widodo aka Jokowi when he was governor of Jakarta made it a point to visit the petty traders and hawkers and people from the slums to listen to their problems or to get feedback as to how things could be done better. He was a very successful governor – much loved by Jakartans.
Question: Are you a people’s person? Do you intend to walk around Ipoh to meet the people? Will you make it easy for ordinary Ipohites to meet you? Or are you going to keep the great ‘unwashed’ away, meeting only datos and towkays and politicians?
Everyday without fail starting at 7am the pottery works in Bercham spew black smoke into the atmosphere. This continues (with stops at intervals) right into the night. Also you get people dumping both industrial (especially construction) and domestic waste by the side of the road – most noticeable in the Bercham industrial area although there are also other areas.
Question: What do you intend to do to control pollution (our rivers included) in the city?
Datuk Bandar, I wish you a pleasant and fruitful stay in Ipoh.
 
Yin
(The man from TR)

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