There are many parks in Ipoh, which were developed over the years to provide Ipohites a place to relax and recreate. The popular ones are D.R. Seenivasagam Park (formerly Coronation Park), Children’s Park, Polo Ground, Kinta Riverfront Park (formerly People’s Park), Gunung Lang Recreational Park, Japanese Garden and the most recent, the Railway Station recreational area.
However, due to poor maintenance by the local authority, some of these parks have slowly become deserted and are frequented by drug addicts and even prostitutes. One such park is the Kinta Riverfront Recreational Park, which needs attention. Mayor Dato’ Zamri Man, together, with a group of local council staff, held a gotong-royong in November last year to spruce up the park. The mayor has also opened it to NGOs who are keen to conduct activities there. It is a commendable effort indeed. However, more should be done, as business has been badly affected due to these under-utilised places being poorly-maintained, poorly-lit and lack parking spaces.
I visited the People’s Park recently after receiving complaints from the public. I found that the eateries here are no longer in operation. There were some Council workers cleaning up the place. During daytime, it looks attractive. However, at night it is eerie with suspicious-looking people loitering about in the dark.
If given due attention by Ipoh City Council, this place, along with other recreational parks such as D.R. Seenivasagam, Polo Ground and Gunung Lang, can be added attractions to Ipoh. It could be done by improving its cleanliness, encouraging more activities and issuing more licenses to traders to sell Perakian food and produce. This is one of the elements that can help make Ipoh the most liveable city in Malaysia, which the mayor has envisioned.
As President of Ipoh City Watch, with a similar vision and aspiration as the mayor, I am urging City Council, Police, KTM and the state government, especially the Executive Councillor for Tourism to look into the issues of parking and traffic congestion at the railway station, especially during weekends and public holidays. The problem is nothing new. Complaints after complaints have been raised by the public and highlighted in the media, but no solution is forthcoming.
The matter is made worse with motorists parking their cars indiscriminately causing inconvenience for people who use the train services, especially at night. These problems have surfaced ever since KTM introduced the ETS services and express buses were moved to Terminal Amanjaya, 18km away.
City Council should spruce up neglected parks and create a similar ambience as at the railway station in order to pull the crowd away from the station. Good and cheap food (the trademark of Ipoh), skating ring, clean toilet, ample parking and recreational activities, such as busking, are some of the efforts the Council should consider.
The Council should take action on motorists who park indiscriminately and block the traffic flow. Operators of roller blades and rental bicycles should be levied a higher operating fee if the Council has difficulty preventing such businesses from mushrooming. City Council should have the courage to take action against these traders since they are the cause of traffic congestions.
Ipoh City Watch is not against those doing business here, but they must not do so at the expense of train commuters. I hope Ipoh City Council, and government agencies responsible, listen to what the Menteri Besar said during his “Executive Talk” earlier this year. He said, “Take heed of public feedback in order to improve services and the delivery system.”
Dr Richard Ng