Create Space for Pedestrians and Cyclists

On Sunday, October 18, Ipoh City Watch (ICW) was invited to participate in the inaugural Ipoh Car Free Day along with some government agencies, tourism-related companies and an environment-related non-governmental organisation. The programme aims to turn Ipoh into a low-carbon-emission city and the people into a low-carbon community. It also aims to create awareness of a healthy lifestyle where the people can cycle, skateboard, roller-skate and walk freely without any vehicles on the roads.

The event, which coincides with the launch of the refurbished Perak Tourism Centre and Ipoh Heritage Trail footprint, was officiated by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir. Present were Dato’ Nolee Ashlin Mohd Radzi, State Exco for Tourism, Dato’ Hj Mohd Gazali Jalal, Perak State Treasurer and Ipoh’s mayor, Dato’ Zamri Man.

We jumped at the opportunity given to us by Ipoh City Council for two reasons; to prove that ICW is not anti-government but rather the eyes, ears and mouths of Ipohites. And to hold true to our vision of making Ipoh the most liveable city in Malaysia, the same aspiration Mayor Dato’ Zamri has.

Led by our Hon. Secretary Victor Chew and assisted by 12 other members, ICW put up a display of buntings, banners and multimedia to showcase our past performances in line with our objective of making Ipoh the most liveable city in Malaysia. It was the very first public project for us and I would say it was a fantastic job by our volunteers. As the President of ICW, I must say I am very proud of what they have done.

We took the opportunity to educate the public on 3R to help make Ipoh City clean through our compost demonstration, flyers and 3R signature pledge. Among the VIPs who made their pledge to support the 3R campaign were Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Dato’ Haji Mohd. Gazali bin Jalal, Dato’ Nolee Radzi and Dato’ Zamri Man.

The Ipoh City Council has done a good job in organising this event. The turnout was below expectation, especially at the booths set up for Ipohites to view. It was probably due to lack of publicity and information made available. More could be done in the future.

The Car Free Day will be meaningless if it is not properly promoted and no spaces are provided for pedestrians and cyclists. I wish to echo what Dato’ Rusnah Kassim said during her Executive Talk to Ipoh City Council staff on Wednesday, October 14. She said that the city’s public transport system should be improved so Ipohites would opt for public transport to commute within the city.

For ICW, the event too has given us an opportunity to talk face-to-face with the mayor. I managed to raise several issues such as lack of support from the councillors on our programmes to educate the public on their responsibilities in making Ipoh clean. I also urge the mayor to enforce a ruling requiring ‘pasar malam’ traders and restaurant operators along the Ipoh Heritage Trail to clear their garbage and place it in a proper garbage bin to prevent the habit of convenient dumping which is the primary cause of illegal dump sites.

City Council must direct its workers to clear up pedestrian walkways in housing estates which are covered with grass over the years. What is the point of forcing developers to build walking paths when they are not maintained by the Council? This will help encourage healthy living among residents.

Dr Richard Ng
President ICW

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