I refer to your cover story in Ipoh Echo Issue 217 ‘Ipoh Gateway or Obstacle Course’. I have an entirely different viewpoint on the subject matter.
My question is – what has Ipoh gained, in economic terms, from the electric train service, KL-Ipoh-KL and now Ipoh-Butterworth-Padang Besar routes? Parking is problematic, especially on weekends. The Ipoh railway station is packed with commuters plying the south and north routes.
I consider Ipohites travelling out of Ipoh as a push factor prompting them to spend their money out of Ipoh. What is the number of visitors to Ipoh? I mean people coming into Ipoh, using the trains to spend their time here. Have the relevant authorities looked into the pull factors? Ask people on the streets, traders and hoteliers: do they benefit from the train service?
We are still being hampered by the problem of motorists making pit stops at Ipoh when plying the North-South Expressway to get to Penang and Kuala Lumpur. The introduction of the electric trains only exacerbates the problem.
The authorities should look into this phenomenon rather than trumpeting that Perak received 7.1 million tourists in 2014 averaging about 20,000 arrivals a day. If this is the gospel truth, are there enough hotel rooms and entertainment outlets to cater for the influx?
As it is, hoteliers are cringing, as their investments are in disarray. Yes, there are plentiful of hotels, budget and star-graded, in the city. But their occupancy rate, unfortunately, is nothing to shout about.