A reader complained to Ipoh Echo about public roads being closed for wedding functions and when you take a diversion another tent would be blocking your route. She enquired whether there is a law that allows this practice.
Mohd Syahrizal Azmi, Ipoh City Council Public Relations Officer said that those who wanted to put up tents across the road in front of their house must get permission from Bahagian Penguatkuasa MBI whose office is in Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab (next to Royal Ipoh Club). Applicants must fill a form for permission and pay fees based on the number of tents erected. There are no charges for funerals. I was not aware of this and wonder how many people know about this law.
A spokesperson from the enforcement office said that there are cases where inconsiderate people blocked the road for days and neighbours had to make police reports for removal of tents. The fee is mainly to cover removal of additional garbage generated. He added that road closure prevents MBI lorries from collecting garbage.
When I went to MBI to get information on this, I met one of the senior officers in the Health Department and when I told him of the issue, he said when the father of his Chinese neighbour died, the road in front of his house was closed for three days. The neighbour was always saying sorry. He parked his car away from his house. He said he understood the situation and it was part of life. On another occasion it may be his turn to close the road.
A resident from Lim Garden once complained in a WhatsApp group that access to her house was blocked. She received many negative comments saying this does not happen every day and to be an understanding neighbour.
Normally when people put up tents for marriage or other parties in housing estates, they get permission from the neighbours and try to limit full road closure for a short duration only. The neighbours are also invited for the function. If possible they keep one lane clear for cars to pass. Road closures by residents are normally done in housing estates and there are alternate routes except if the road is a dead end.
Malaysians are civilised and understand the practices and culture of other races and are accommodating and willing to bear some inconvenience. This does not happen every day. If your neighbour puts up a tent today you may do it tomorrow.
I sum up by quoting a couplet from the Tamil Classic Thirukkural written more than two thousand years ago.
“Those are fools however learnedWho have not learned to walk with the world”