Are We Ashamed of Ipoh’s Glorious Past?

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Cover story­

By Jerry Francis

“City That Tin Built” – about sums up the history of Ipoh and its heritage. These four words are also an effective slogan to promote the city. Not “Bougainvillea City” or by any other slogans. On May 27 Ipoh will celebrate its 22nd anniversary as a city. But it is sad that through all those years nothing seems to have been done to reflect its glorious past as the centre of the tin mining industry which had been so significant in the economic development of the country. The tin mining industry has since collapsed; the history of the city will also slowly fade away and be forgotten. Look around us. What is there to reflect the tin mining industry? Why can’t the city become one big monument of the tin mining industry in the country which can be both educational as well as a tourist attraction? Are we ashamed of the city’s past?

Ipoh is also not a city just living on past glory but is very much alive with natural attractions and some beautiful architecture, such as the Railway Station, Town Hall and High Court.

It is surrounded by beautiful limestone outcrops with fascinating cave temples and as well as producing some iconic products, among them pomelo, white coffee and taugeh which have become well-known abroad.

Yet, what have we done to boost tourism in the city? The typical comment from many people is “what can the city offer?”

It is useless for us to lament the failure of the city’s attractions and just fold our arms and watch each City Day pass by without fanfare and excitement. Those who care and are in a position to help promote the city need to come forward by participating and contributing ideas.

Public Transport Critical

Though Ipoh has grown from a sleepy hollow on the banks of Sungai Kinta, in size covering 643sq.km, new commercial areas and suburban towns have increased the population to over 750,000. However it still lags behind other cities in the country in terms of public amenities. For example, bus services in the city needs to be urgently overhauled so that it will be the choice mode of transport for the residents, as well as tourists arriving by bus, train and air.

Taxi service in the city is equally bad. The drivers have been stubbornly refusing to use taxi-meters and will charge at least RM7 for just a short distance.

Perhaps Ipoh must start planning a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system for the city centre and its satellite towns from now on.

Although traffic in the city is not as chaotic as in Kuala Lumpur, city planners must look into it very seriously as traffic congestion is imminent. Already traffic jams are becoming regular occurrences.

Cleanliness and Beautification

Perhaps one of the first things to do is for the City Council to spruce up the city with beautification projects. At this moment there is no project worth mentioning. Instead, whatever beautification we have, such as fountains and gardens, are being neglected. And the rubbish is everywhere. Lack of an efficient rubbish collection scheme has resulted in thousands of illegal rubbish dumps all over the city. Frequently, buffaloes and cows are still seen in the city, obstructing traffic, messing roads with dung, damaging flower plants and fruit trees in housing estates.

In fact, ever since Ipoh was declared a city it has deteriorated rapidly probably because it was accorded in the wake of the collapse of the tin mining industry. Prior to being declared a city, it was a vibrant town and a playground for the rich, with more posh cars in a one kilometre radius than anywhere in the country.

It was also reputed as one of the cleanest towns in the country with potted flower plants located in strategic places and even hanging from street lamp-posts. There were well maintained public parks, Taman D.R. Seenivasagam, People’s Park, Children’s Park and the Japanese Garden.

Now, many of the buildings in the old city centre are empty, condemned or abandoned, painting a gloomy picture.

Bleak Future Drives Away Traders

Those traders along the two main streets – Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah (Hugh Low Street) and Jalan Sultan Idris Shah (Brewster Road), once the business hub of the old city centre, are too old to continue and their children are not keen to take over because of the bleak future.

If the City Council does not focus its attention on rejuvenating the old city centre within the next decade, more and more business premises will pull down their shutters and move to new commercial areas.

According to some leading businessmen in the city, there seem to be a lack of enthusiasm from the City Council to induce redevelopment.

The city is also not pedestrian-friendly. Even crossing between the Old and New Town sectors is not planned and facilitated for pedestrians.

The City Council has, instead, allowed food-stalls to erect permanent structures on pavements endangering the life and limb of pedestrians.

Wider Pavements to Induce Business Activities

Jln Sultan Idris Shah – Note narrow pavements on either side and cars parked plus bulky planter boxes

Among the suggestions to induce business activities to the old city centre is to have wider pavements along Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, like those in Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.

Jln Bukit Bintang – Note wide pedestrain pavements on either side and lovely palm trees. Also no parking on either sid

The parking bays on both sides of the street can be sacrificed for the wider pavements and yet wide enough for three-lane traffic.

“Allowing cars to park along the streets will not generate business activities, but wider pavements do,” commented Dato’ Chin Lean Choong, a miner turned entrepreneur.

“The wider pavements can connect with the Kinta Riverbank’s project and thus encourage the residents to walk. As more and more pedestrians move about, the business premises along Jalan Sultan Idris Shah will find it viable to reopen for businesses.”

He said covered pedestrian walkways, connecting the old and new town sectors at the bridges in Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah, also need to be constructed to protect pedestrians from rain and sun.  This would encourage motorists to park their cars somewhere between the two sectors and walk.

What is happening now, motorists would drive to their destinations even a short distance away, resulting in more vehicles moving about in the city centre causing traffic congestion.

“Ipoh City Council needs to hold a brain-storming session for its councillors to come up with plans to rejuvenate the city,” said a businessman located in the old city centre.

“The collapse of the tin mining industry and as well as the subsequent recessions in the country, have begun the city’s deterioration.”

A City Centre of Swiftlets’ Hotels

Eventually more swiftlet hotels will take over the business premises. Already the annoying recorded chirpings are clearly heard in both new and old town sectors.

Just looking at the numerous condemned and abandoned buildings and vacant business premises in the old city centre is enough to scare away any potential investors. It will not take long before the city deteriorates further and be like a ghost mining town, rather than a vibrant city.

The City Council must enforce whatever regulations to get property owners to redevelop their commercial premises rather than giving excuses, such as the owners could not be traced.

A big contrast to when Ipoh was just a Municipality under the control of the People Progressive Party (PPP). A councillor would be on the roster daily to deal with the problems of the ratepayers. Others were tasked with various duties to ensure efficiency.

The City Council is now headed by a Mayor. There are 23 councillors, each in charge of a zone, but are they effectively inspecting their respective zone and are accessible to the residents?

25 thoughts on “Are We Ashamed of Ipoh’s Glorious Past?

  1. Thank you Ipoh Echo for igniting the fuse to such a provocative subject. The comments thus far support the concerns for regaining the glories of Ipoh. There are many other angles to look at the plights of Ipoh, whether or not they are old hats. There is no lack of love for the city, only the lack of political will and cohesive actions to make Ipoh the unique city that tin built a living testimony of the country’s wealth and modern development.

    Shall we take a look at the main issues to be addressed in rehabilitating Ipoh?

    Town planning – where heritge and history is preserved for the future and buildings, streets and parks (green lungs) made enjoyable to residents and visitors (friends, former Ipoh residents and tourists); for a green environment, giving priority to keeping the streets clean and rubbish well-disposed; for a walkable city (I owe this to Ken Yeh); for good public transport.

    Conservation is supremely vital in town planning. It is high time that the rate collectors offer incentive to property owners for repairs to dilapidated buildings. The law protects only the owners of properties, but there is nothing to compel owners to repair their derelict buildings. These offenders should be penalised if they don’t take up the offer of ‘assistance’.

    Buildings in public places are of public interest and government incentives should encourage action. To balance the offer of incentives, legislations can be introduced where ‘errant’ properties which endanger the public and ‘deface’ our streets should be forcibly acquired and sold to willing buyers under heritage conservation enforcement; buildings converted to swiftlet farms amongst them, for public health and livable environment. However, the city council must involve the assistance of professionals and heritage conservationists in its effort to retain the uniqueness of our city through conserving the our streetscape.

    The shared-commitment of governments, residents and property owners is critical to achieving that quality of life and making the place an enjoyable experience. We need dialogues and forums to exchange views and ideas, a vehicle to inform everybody (such as Ipoh Echo) and work with expertise, bought, borrowed or imported. We spend thousands on meaningless fireworks but nothing on education of sustainable environment and civic responsibilities.

    To Aaron Ong, I agree with you that the modern look of Ipoh is due largely to B M Iversen, the Danish architect of Ipoh. As can be expected, his style is widely copied. It is sad to know that many of his buildings, public and private, have already been demolished. We have to make special efforts to retain the memory of this remarkable contributor in the city he loved. If we conserve his buildings to international standard, we can attract the world to Ipoh just to appreciate the tropical architecture of Iversen. Much has to be done, but the first thing is to put a moratorium on the destruction or mutilation not only of Iversen’s designs, but pre-war buildings as a whole. We are seeing many of the latter disappearing and there appears no law to stop them. Let’s hope the owners of Iversen-designed buildings will cooperate in this effort. Indeed, the Iversen buildings in Ipoh can inspire a new strand in our tourism industry. Having a Lat Museum will help tremendously; in fact, Ipoh deserves a Lat Museum more than anywhere else in Malaysia.

    You see, Ipoh does not lack attractions but the know-how, professionalism and commitment to learn about them and conserve them for the benefits of the people and the city we are so proud of. There is plenty of money to be made in this process by local people, and success in this regard can reverse the outflow of capital and human resources.

  2. Congratulation Ipoh Echo. Your cover story appears to be a “wake-up” call for the Ipoh City Council to take serious look at the old city centre.
    It has drawn the personal attention of Dato Bandar. However, instead of looking at it as a feedback, Dato Roshidi is criticising it as “This is not only untrue but is also misleading as it will give a negative perception of Ipoh City Council, per se.”
    Yet, on the otherhand he admitted that “the Council is attempting to trace the original owners so they could be told to take care for their run-down properties.”
    Let us hope the so-called special committee could come up with a master plan to deal with the “lingering problems” in the old city centre.

  3. Sybas! Dato Mayor for forming a special committee to establish a master plan to tackle the lingering problem in the old city centre, both in the short and long terms.
    However, I feel that the city council is taking a bit too long to trace the current owners of the abandoned buildings. According to my lawyer friend, it should not take more than two months to trace them, even though some of them are now living in Singapore.
    The reason why the owners are “elusive” because they do not wish to invest in a losing project.
    The city council needs to look into plans that can induce commercial development in the old city centre,otherwise everyone will move to new areas outside the city.

  4. Dear Dato’Hj.Roshidi,

    may peace be with u.

    As a concerned Ipohite, I am indeed glad and inspired by your expression. Certain segment of
    the public is also very concerned about heritage
    issues in Kinta. Therefore, independent non-governmental organizations like the Perak Heritage Society are ever willing to extend its assistance and professional views to address the problems of old buildings. Thank you.

  5. Permit me to add my two cents worth, Dato’.

    The action plan and the master plan you allude to must in themselves be complete so they’ll address all lingering problems pertaining to old buildings with and without heritage value, road and traffic systems and the myriad of other issues affecting Ipohites.

    You’re given a lifeline by the MB to continue in your post for another two years. I feel it’s pay back time. No, not to the MB but to city folks. You owe us a debt of gratitude.

    Good that the MB and you are looking to China for inspirations. There’s plenty you can learn from the Chinese experience, warts and all.

    May I suggest that you and your officers use this forum to interact with us, the faceless rate payers of Ipoh – the very people you and your officers are paid to serve.

    Cheers.

  6. Dear Dato’ Roshidi,

    It is a pleasure to see your views first-hand on this blog. Thank you for that.

    If I may make one point based on your own remarks on reappointment which I believe were:

    “My priority would be to assist the Menteri Besar and the state government in realising the Aman Jaya approach in planning and the Government Transformational Programme, which has been conducted at both federal and state levels.

    I am personally committed in ensuring a clean, green and a vibrant city in line with the wishes of the state government. The Menteri Besar has also instructed me to implement projects concerning beautification, landscaping, lighting and the upgrading of roads in the city.”

    I believe that development that destroys our heritage as seems to have been the case over the years is not what Ipoh and its people need. Preferably we need, as you say, to put right the decrepit buildings, repair the infrastructure and make the city clean beautiful again as it used to be.

    Taking little India as an example that does not mean a new stage, a police pondok, archways, out of character lamposts and decorated roads. Wouldn’t it be better to restore the area to what it once was?

  7. The Council (MBI) is of the opinion that the scenario painted regarding old buildings, which are not properly managed and decrepit, indicates that a portion of the city is not being developed since the demise of the tin industry in the 80s. This is not only untrue but is also misleading as it will give a negative perception of Ipoh City Council, per se. The Council is attempting to trace the original owners so they could be told to take care for their run-down properties.
    Developments within city, for reasons of expedience, are currently concentrated in outlaying areas such as Bercham, Pasir Puteh, Ipoh Garden East, Klebang, Chemor, Taman Botani and others.
    The Council too is in the process of formulating an appropriate action plan to address the problem of old buildings. However, it requires the participation of not only one party but that of others. The cooperation of the elusive property owners is imperative so we could formulate an appropriate strategy and approach to overcome it effectively.
    City Council, as of today, has formed a special committee and it is my fervent hope that it will be able to establish a master plan to tackle this lingering problem, both in the short and long terms.
    Dato’ Hj Roshidi Hj Hashim
    Datuk Bandar Ipoh

  8. Agree with Ruth, Ipoh has been bereft of buildings with “soul”. Architects today seem to have sidelined beautiful form with the ringgit. It’s half truth as they also need the dosh to live.

    Local councillors and the mayor, truth be told are purely administrative but lack the psyche to bring “life” into the environs, be they buildings, parks, walkways, trees. The modern world they seek are seen every modern city. That’s what they see !!!

    Old pre war buildings can be rejuvenated to reflect the glorious architecture of a bygone era. Owners of such buildings should take pride in that they own a piece of history in full view of the country, if not the world.

    It takes a keen eye and a really keen brain to appreciate what we have and I am quite surprised that there are actually people in Ipoh who still think that the prewar buildings are worth holding onto as a mirror of our past. Few but surprising, all the same.

    I would suggest a “pilot” project involving the old shops around MayBank by the Sg. Kinta as a starting block. Forget rejuvenation like the huge 24hr mamak eaterie style botch job, please.

    Can the Ipoh Echo forum dedicate a slot for this for contributions? Perhaps.

    We’ll see. Miss the Sg. Kinta and the wonderful trees that once lined it. They are gone, by the way, making way for further “modern edifices” !!! Sacrilege !!!! Horror !!!!! Guess that’s what the chase for the ringgit brings to a grand old town that tin built.

    1. Ipoh Echo works hard to be THE ‘Voice of the Ipoh community’ We get feedback from various sources at City Council that we are read and noticed. Taking action may take a little more time. So tell your friends that the Ipoh Echo online forum is one way to make your voice heard.

  9. All the above comments are well written with facts and history,keep it up and make Ipoh the best of the best.Missing Ipoh for 20 yrs..

  10. As a former resident of Ipoh who was born and bred in this serene, mid-size Malaysian city, I strongly feel that our beloved hometown still has its innate charm intact even though the general condition of the city has degenerated substantially over the years. Instead of indulging in finger-pointing and be conveniently carried away by the blame game, the political bigwigs in the city should take the initiative to establish a special commission to draw up a master plan for Ipoh’s future growth and development into the next century. Rope in civic leaders, community activists, business professionals, real estate developers and town planners, and solicit their input. The task is not easy but with local pride at stake, this elite group should work as a team to strategize for the overall improvement of the city. The plan must be inclusive in nature and everyone, from the privileged to the average man on the street should have a piece of the pie. It takes someone with leadership, foresight and a deep sense of commitment to start the ball rolling and the plan should be fine-tuned when there is a need to do so.

    Lastly, I beg to differ from Ken Yeh’s assertion that abandoned buildings abound in “all the Chinatowns in the world.” I have lived in the US for more than a quarter of a century and have visited the major Chinatowns in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I have not noticed a profusion of abandoned buildings in the Chinatowns that I have been to. In this context, perhaps he is referring to some sectors of Asian cities that are predominantly inhabited by ethnic Chinese nationals.

  11. As an expatriate with PR who has only lived in Ipoh for the last 10 years+, I have read the 11 posts on this subject (so far) very carefully but I feel honestly that I have heard it all before – time after time. Meanwhile Ipoh continues to deteriorate

    There seems to be quite a strong group of people in Ipoh who want the city to be brought back to an attractive place to live and over the years they have been quite vocal about it. Promises seem to have been made to them and not materialised and sometimes things appear to have been done exactly the opposite of what the people want.

    Now I don’t know why this is as it is, but maybe Ken has the answer with his views on the Chinese culture and the need for stronger laws. The question is will the government, where Chinese are in the minority, ever bring in such laws? I doubt it.

    It almost seems to me that the master plan is to let the city fall down and then either rebuild it in the way the government would like it or relocate it all to Jelapang.

    Perhaps I just do not understand the local culture!

  12. Indeed ipoh city council needs to seriously look into rejuvenating the old city centre. I agreed with writer, jerry francis, if nothing is done soon the city centre would become a centre of swiftlets’ hotel.
    Why go abroad on study tours, a visit to KL is sufficient to get the idea to induce business activities.
    what are the appointed city councillors contribute towards breathing life to the city?

  13. With refer to Ruth, Mariam, Steven, Liew, Aaron and
    Ken Yeh’s views and suggestions. Some of your comments and suggestions are remarkable. But what
    hope do you people have? All of us can hope and
    pray, but is the State Government, politicians and
    councillors listening to these comments? History has
    shown that ” say what u say” and come what may!
    Nevertheless, I wish to urge the politicians of the
    state to stop “politikusing” and start to use your
    power and influence to unconditionally address some of these worthwhile suggestions for IPOH.
    Please don’t until the next general or state
    elections, it might be too late, start it now.

  14. Being married to someone born just outside Ipoh, though having stayed in Ipoh snd more recently outside it, I have been struck by the apparent erosion of Ipoh’s appearance. Yes wider pavements, controlled parking, improved taxis, buses etc would help. Yes there is litter, but then so does London have litter. The last time I was in Ipoh, was 2006 and not expecting to revisit til 2013, hopefully Ipoh will have woken up and cleaned up its act.

    Still like the Visit Malaysia adverts I see occassionally on UK television, all that is needed is for that energy to be spread around the country.

  15. I agree with Mariam Mokhtar that: ‘it is because people like you and I, just looke away and ignore.’
    Many of us who have resided oversea for a while, we always compare “what’s there is, and what’s here is not”.

    I agreed with Steven Lee suggestion: An efficeient bus system will be better.

    It is not only the attitude of Ipohites, it is ECONOMIC.

  16. Thank you Ruth for taking an interest in Ipoh, it is one of those special places that parts of our soul still reside as Ipohites. I hope to be able to thank you in person in Sydney soon.

    Thank you Miriam for all your articles, you and all the progressive women in Malaysia will be our saviours, keep it up.

    If one travels to all the chinatowns in the world, one would notice one glaring similarity, all have a high number of abandoned buildings. This is a cultural problem with the chinese culture in general, both the diaspora and in China. Ipoh is but one big chinatown and the ownership patterns not unlike most other chinatowns.

    It is the problem of distributed ownership, where a piece of property is often owned by more than one sibling or grand sibling of the original property owner and if you have ever ventured to watch chinese soap operas, you would know the very popular story of the fighting siblings often over property. Until the city of Ipoh enacts laws similar to Singapore, the abandoned building syndrome will continue unabated. No amount of “superficial uplift” of the urban environment will help the situation.

    Ken Yeh

  17. Liew, we already have anti-litter laws. Do the people care? Perhaps a stricter enforcement is needed. But then people will complain the authorities are too strict and ample warning should be first given. The thing is that everyone knows that we should not litter and yet so many people simply do it without a second thought.

    There are of course Ipohites who are mindful of cleanliness. But don’t simply blame the Council when much of the fault actually lies with the people especially the younger generation.

    I am not advocating that Ipoh City Council neglect their responsibilities to beautify Ipoh and keep Ipoh clean. I am merely saying that much of the Council’s efforts are defeated by the very people that the projects were carried out for.

    Perhaps I should have said that the people’s attitude must be changed at the same time while carrying out beautification and cleanliness projects. However, I think that it is a lot easier to carry out projects than changing people’s attitude, and so the change should be done first.

  18. Ruth,

    Thank you very much for your father’s contribution to Ipoh even way before I was born. It was only through this and ipohworld site that I learnt about the detailed history of Ipoh, who is who and who built what.

    It is often said that Ipoh is the “City that Tin Built”. Might I rephrase to “The City that BM Iversen built”, which is not untrue at all.

    How come that we have not a single monument, building or street named for Architect Iversen? Students nowadays might learn about the Melaka Sultanate and even about the Hang Tuah fables but when it comes to their hometown, many of them would have a blank face.

    Ipoh town was beautiful during your father’s time but time has certainly made its mark on some of the structures your father built. Nevertheless, as a native of Ipoh, I thank you once again for what your father has done for us. I will certainly teach my 2 young sons on your father’s contribution to our birthplace.

  19. Frank says:
    May 17, 2010
    I disagree with you, Lee, that the attitude of Ipohites must change first before beautification and cleanliness projects can be carried out. If this is the case, we may have to wait till kingdom comes before we can live in a beautiful and clean environment.
    How do you think the attitude of the people can be changed? Please tell.
    Remember before the PAP government took control of Singapore, the China Town was filthy and clothes hanging on poles from balconies of the high-rise apartment buildings to dry.
    The PAP government did not wait for the Singaporeans to change their attitude first, it went ahead with all projects and at the same time strictly enforce its anti-litter by-law.
    Now look at the same China Town, and Singaporeans as well as tourists dare not litter.
    Don’t blame on Ipohites, there are good and responsible residents as Ipoh Echo had highlighted.
    Just because of those irresponsible ones, must the rest be deprived from living a beautiful and clean environment?

  20. I have long wondered why old buildings are left to run down. This creates an unsightly spectacle which affects neighboring buildings. There are also several buildings along the Ipoh’s two main road that burnt down and left just like that.

    I posed this question to an Ipoh Councilor and was told that the Council has no power to do anything about it. In Singapore or Hong Kong, the owner would have been instructed to tear down the remains and rebuild with the front facade resembling what was burnt down. If the owner can’t rebuild, he should just sell it.

    Uniformity is important where old buildings are concerned. It looks very odd when some buildings in the same block are rebuilt in modern styles. Even if the interior are completely renovated, the exterior facade must remain. I have seen old buildings that are renovated from two-storey to three-storey while keeping the original facade.

    Ipohites are too pampered when it comes too parking spaces. Many people wants to park right in front of the shop or place they want to go. In Singapore, I would be very thankful to find a parking space less than 100 meters away, Very often it would be 500 meters away. In Hong Kong, one kilometer away is considered near.

    Parking spaces in Ipoh contribute a lot to traffic congestion. Look at the two main roads with parking spaces at both sides. There are even cars and vans that double-park along the roadside. Ipoh City Council should build more multi-storey car parks and get rid of roadside parking spaces along main and busy roads.

    The Council should also manage the type of businesses being carried out. For example, shops can will attract a lot of customers must ensure the surrounding area have sufficient parking spaces. If there are not, then the Council must not allow the shops to be located there. It is not a matter of stopping people from doing business but proper city planning and not inconveniencing others in the same area.

    Look at the Maybank branch along Jalan Sultan Idris (Brewster Road) opposite Jubilee Park. So many vehicles double-park and even triple-park right at a road junction. This should never be allowed to happen in the first place. Why did the Council allow Maybank to open a branch there?

    If the Council gets rid of all these traffic bottlenecks, there won’t be a need for a LRT system. The writer is wrong to say that Ipoh needs a LRT system because there will never be a sufficient number of passengers in Ipoh to use it.

    LRT requires places with high-density of population. This is seen with many high-rise apartments and condominiums within those areas. How many high-rise residential buildings does Ipoh have? The LRT system will be a money-losing white elephant. An efficient bus system will be better.

    I have written too many times that it is perfectly legal for taxis in Ipoh not to use meters. Look at the sign at the roof of the taxis. It says “Kereta Sewa” or hired car, not “Teksi Bermeter” or metered txis as found in Kuala Lumpur. This means that taxi drivers are free to negotiate their fares with passengers. So don’t blame the taxi drivers, blame the government agency that issued the permits.

    Beautification and cleanliness projects can be undertaken by the Council but the attitude of Ipohites should be changed first. What is the point of all the projects when Ipohites don’t care or even abuse what was implemented. For example, smokers throw their cigarette butts into plant pots. There are even people who conveniently throw plastic bags, plastic bottles or metal cans into the plant pots instead of throwing into the rubbish bin.

    How many of us have seen people indiscriminately throw cigarette butts, tissues, etc, out the car window? Too many Ipohites are not bothered at all about keeping Ipoh clean. Are we to expect that the Council will succeed?

    I agree that there should be wider pavements at the sides of roads especially the two main roads to allow pedestrians to walk. But wider pavements means narrower roads and may cause traffic jams. If roadside parking spaces are taken out, where will the cars park? It is too simplistic just to suggest taking out the roadside parking spaces without first providing an alternative. After all, car owners also have their rights.

    Once roadside parking spaces are eliminated, railings should be installed along the sides of roads to discourage cars from waiting or parking illegally along the roadsides.

    Vehicles carrying goods should not be allowed to stop in front of shops to load and/or unload because this practice often causes traffic jams. Instead, these vehicles should use the back lanes as it was done once before.

  21. I concur with Ruth Rollit. Ipoh was a beautiful city.

    Sadly the place was and is run by groups of self-serving people, who have used and abused Ipoh for their own interests. They have neglected the city and its people.

    These selfish people include politicians, councillors and greedy developers, who are not just ashamed of Ipoh’s glorious past, they also place NO value on the things which make Ipoh attractive.

    Buildings, greenery including trees and now our hills are destroyed. Instead of taking stock of what Ipoh is famous for, they are killing Ipoh.

    The people who are supposed to steer Ipoh forward lack vision. Their disjointed policies and half-baked projects, will only propel Ipoh into another slum.

    And this same group of selfish people do not like dissent either. They are sensitive to criticism and expect everyone to agree with them. There is no avenue for people to express their disapproval.

    Is it any wonder our young and creative people leave and our elderly shake their heads with despair?

    It is like Malaysia’s brain drain – Ipoh’s best will stay away because their ideas and views are not even acknowledged, appreciated and approved.

    We need more people who are willing to speak up for and on behalf of Ipoh.

    And we certainly do NOT need the same people who spew out the same tired phrases and ideologies. These people in positions of responsibility, travel abroad on their so-called study trips using our money (taxpayer’s money), they enthuse about the places they have visited but they come back and are still close-minded and display their tempurung mentality.

    WE would like to remind them that all that glitters is not gold. And not everything that is attached to modernity is good.

    Is it any wonder our young and creative people leave and our elderly shake their heads with despair?

    But I will let you in on a secret. THe only reason people at the top are allowed to get away with it and
    ignore and destroy our glorious past is because people like you and I, just look away or keep quiet.

    Just think, if we were to be more vocal and show our displeasure, we can make a difference. It is never too late to start and hopefully we can make Ipoh proud again.

  22. Born in Ipoh a long time ago as the daughter of one of Ipoh’s architects I am deeply saddened each time I return (last time in October 2009). What has gone wrong?
    The town/city I dream off when far away in Europe is no longer there. Most of my father’s beautiful houses have been demolished and the land stands empty – awaitng the fate of ghastly modern edifices to be erected. It breaks my heart. My childhood home has gone – after having been neglected for many years, fine buildings have been ‘improved’ and their soul has departed. The Geological Survey has been vandalised and the beautiful staff quarters behind are in total neglect. Radio Malaysia is still there, neat and tidy – I congratulate them – and the Veterinary Research Institute is still as beautiful as ever and maintained with great pride. I congratulate the people in charge and know that my father would be delighted to see how they honour the talented man who served Ipoh with love for almost 40 years! Ipoh – the beautiful city – is no longer beautiful and tourists will stay away – there is nothing for them, just chaos and filth. If I who loves Ipoh can say this – what would others say.

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