The Ipoh Waterfront Project spanning from Tanjung Rambutan to Pengkalan costing RM200 million was initiated by former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali in 2004. The first phase of the project was Kinta Riverfront Park which was built at the site of former People’s Park costing RM4.4 million. It is located beside the Kinta River Bridge along Jalan Iskandar Shah (Hugh Low Street).
It has fountains, a children’s playground and a recreation pool for children. There are a number of shelters with benches. The trees along the perimeter provide shade. The anchor tenant was a nasi kandar restaurant.
The recreation pool is now dry and the fountains are not working. The restaurant has closed down. On a Sunday morning visit, the place was deserted except for old men sitting under the shelters. Youngsters were sleeping on the benches.
The pool was very popular with young children. With the pool closed there are hardly any visitors. The nasi kandar restaurant was also popular and when it was opened there was congestion along Jalan Iskandar Shah at night.
There is stagnant water in the basin of the fountains which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. There are also other receptacles containing stagnant water. Although the landscape contractor keeps the place relatively clean, which is easy due to the low numbers of visitors, however, the plants are not properly trimmed. Also there are signs that the contractor is burning garbage next to the river bank.
There are three entrances to the park through arches and the signages on the arches are missing.
At night, the lighting appears inadequate for a public park. Two ladies are running a stall with no sign of customers. It’s no wonder as there are no signboards and people are not aware of its existence.
I’m wondering why MBI is abandoning this park. This was one of the popular recreational places in the city.
On a Sunday morning drive along Jalan Lim Bo Seng to visit the Memory Lane flea market, I noticed that the level of water in Kinta River was very low, the lowest I have ever seen.
Half of the dam built across the river to maintain minimum height of water in the river had collapsed and water was flowing freely. Many dead fishes were floating in the slow-moving water. Many dead fishes were also stuck at the side of the river and a fishy smell was strong.
A big log was lying on the river bed. Old debris was lying mostly at the side of the banks with other garbage and Indah Water is still discharging its foamy effluent into the river.
River Walk is being promoted as the latest tourist attraction in the city. What impression would tourists have about our city when they see the condition of the river.
The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) must immediately take remedial action and restore the river to its natural state.
Meanwhile, I went to Sungai Pari to see the condition there. From Jalan Raja Bridge I noticed the level of water was low, but was flowing freely. The water looked less muddy, hardly any garbage floating and there were no dead fishes. There was silting at the sides and many of the retaining concrete walls have collapsed. It looks like the river is not being maintained either.
All town buses do not enter Medan Kidd Bus Station to drop and pick up passengers. A number of them park along the road in front of the bus station reducing the dual carriageway road to a single lane and restricting traffic flow.
These buses are parked for quite some time in front of the Banana Leaf Restaurant and occasionally the driver is not in his seat. The conductor uses a haler to call for passengers. Passengers dash across the busy road to catch the bus. There is an underpass, but people are scared to use it. I come across this often when I am driving and cannot take photos. I had the opportunity to take a photo on a Sunday morning when there was not much traffic. During weekdays this road is busy and used as the main entrance to ACS school.
Buses also stop abruptly at the corner of the road in front of the roundabout to pick up passengers, causing motorists to brake suddenly.
MBI parking attendants are very efficient in summoning motorists who are overdue by five minutes only. How come they are blind to this situation? Are they only authorised to summon cars?
Action must be taken against the irresponsible bus companies and drivers. All town buses must enter the bus station and not cause traffic jams along the roads in front of the bus station.
While visiting the Palong Tin Museum I noticed that the Indah Treatment Plant in Waller Court was pumping soapy water into the Kinta River. Plenty of foam was floating at the discharge point. Since the water in the river was hardly flowing, the foam was floating up to the middle of the river.
I spoke to Hamdi bin Bawan, Unit Manager of Indah Water, on the situation. The following day he called me and said that there was a malfunction in the plant and the problem had been solved. He thanked me for bringing this to his attention. However, when I visited the place a few days later I noticed that soapy water was still being discharged into the river.
I went to the Indah Treatment Plant in Merdeka Garden to see the situation there. I noticed that water was flowing out of the plant into the drain; it was gravity flow. The water was normal, not foamy.
Can Indah Water assure that the water being discharged is not polluting the river? What is the composition of the water? It is just upstream from the equipment that is measuring the quality of water in the river. Will this affect the measurement?
Garden refuse and other garbage from Club Condominium, in Laluan Harimau opposite the Golf Club, are being dumped at the junction of Tiger Close, a narrow road near the condominium. Upon seeing the pile of garbage, other residents have started to throw their garbage there. About half of the road is blocked by garbage. Within a few days new garbage was added to the pile.
Dr Loh Seck Poh, a resident living in Tiger Close, said that previously MBI did collect the garbage occasionally, but lately there has been no collection for months. The place looks like a dump site and at times the pile is almost the height of an adult person. Since this is a narrow road it is difficult and dangerous to drive, near misses happen frequently.
During the meeting I arranged between Ee Cheng Tak, Committee Head, Residents Committee, Club Condominium and Dr Loh, Ee agreed that the pile of garbage next to the condominium is an eyesore. He informed that he had visited MBI a number of times and complained. No action has been taken.
Ee acknowledged the problem faced by residents living on Tiger Close. He assured that in future he will make arrangements for the garden refuse to be stored within the condominium prior to collection.
Recently when I went shopping in Little India, for the first time I parked my car in front of Siva Sakthi Restaurant on Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Belfield Street) and walked to Lahat Road. I was shocked to see the condition of the pedestrian walkway which is not safe to walk. This is a short L-shaped section along the front and side of the shop lot.
In many places the interlocking bricks have sunk into the sand and are displaced. There are a number of potholes. A pipe is jutting out in the middle of the passageway causing a serious tripping hazard. It appears that the ground was not compacted before laying the bricks. I lost count of the number of places that are damaged in the short stretch. Pedestrians are walking on the busy road.
I have walked along many pedestrian walkways in the town, but have not come across one like this with so many defects in a short stretch. I am not exaggerating. Those interested can go and see for themselves.
MBI engineers must inspect the place and take action against the contractor who did the job. The inspector who certified the job must also be questioned. Get it repaired before someone trips and fractures their leg.
I drive past Taman DR Seenivasagam often and noticed a new signboard pointing the way to River Walk. I decided to visit the place. While driving along the entrance road which is designed for single-lane traffic, I noticed that cars were parked all along the side of the road next to the football field.
During my return journey, I noticed that two cars ahead of me had stopped when the road in front was clear. Then I realised that they had stopped to let the on-coming cars pass through. Two big cars cannot pass through the narrow road. Some drivers had to fold in their side mirrors to go through. Cars have difficulty passing each other. Motorists are aware of the problem and I wonder why no one has highlighted it.
A few irresponsible drivers are making life miserable for visitors to the park. MBI must immediately put a stop to parking along this road. There are ample parking places in the park. The drivers are lazy to walk. Cars parked along the road must be clamped.
In fact, I also had to park my car in an unsafe manner to take photos and observe the problem.
The newly renovated Birch Clock Tower still has no signage and the receptacle in the pedestal in which there was a plaque contains stagnant water; ideal place for breeding mosquitoes.
Half-opened newspapers were lying around the compound. Since there are no benches, it looks like people are placing the newspapers on the ground to sit. This must be happening at night. There are no dustbins in the area. There is the usual garbage like plastic bottles and bags strewn all around.
The plants in the flower bed are not being maintained and growth is uneven. Weeds are growing in the specially planted carpet grass and if they are not weeded soon, they would choke the carpet grass. Action must be taken immediately before it is too late.
The restoration work done on the main structure is not professional. A lay person can see the poor workmanship. One of the lamp posts next to the main steps has been missing for a long time. The lamp post next to it is also missing.
On the positive side the clock shows the correct time. As one of Ipoh’s most famous landmarks, it is imperative that, having spent money on its restoration, proper maintenance is carried out.
On Sunday mornings, traders doing business along Jalan Horley, popularly known as Memory Lane, occupy two lanes of Brewster Road (Jalan Sultan Idris Shah) at the junction, causing massive traffic jams. The area becomes unsafe for motorists and traffic comes to a crawl or stops.
While I was taking photos, a traffic policeman who was on duty on a motorcycle, complained to me and vented frustrations about the situation because MBI enforcement officers were not taking action. When I told him that I write for Ipoh Echo, he suggested that instead of writing I should meet the Mayor and complain in person.
Enforcement officers from MBI are present and I wonder why they are not doing anything. It is their duty to ensure that the traders do business within the stipulated area and not go out of it.
I urge the Mayor to pay a surprise visit to the place and see for himself the situation. He can also drive in a private car and experience the congestion and inconvenience.
Action must be taken immediately to prevent unnecessary traffic jam and enable traffic to flow smoothly.
On a Sunday morning I visited the newly-renovated Birch Clock Tower. A young couple from KL were taking photographs. They were surprised that there was no signage giving information about the monument. They knew nothing of the history of this Tower.
The only signboards I saw were in the flower bed stating that the Menteri Besar and the Mayor had planted the ‘leaves’.
From the layout of the place, it looks like the main entrance is from the side lane adjacent to OCBC. At the entrance of the lane, there is a three-foot high pipe with exposed cables and next to the stairs leading to the tower, there is another pipe about two feet high with exposed cables. At two nearby locations there are cables lying on the floor. The couple commented this is not safe and that these are tripping hazards. This is an eyesore for a renovated place. Why were these cables not concealed? It looks like laymen are more aware of safety than the engineers who have accepted and signed off on the completed project.
The clocks are not showing the correct time which for a new renovation, is strictly unacceptable. The main entrance must be from Jalan Sagor and a bus bay must be reserved for tourist buses. Elderly visitors may not be able to climb the stairs from the back lane. Also Jalan Maharajalela is too congested and buses cannot pass through during week days.
Whoever is responsible for the upkeep of this monument must employ the right people to ensure that the place is maintained properly. This is a tourist spot and foreigners will be visiting it and compare it with other monuments they have seen.