Parking touts are becoming a menace in Ipoh, and the problem is getting out of hand.
Despite numerous complaints lodged by Ipohites, parking touts continue to be a nuisance in the city by acting as parking attendants and demanding money for their ‘service’.
Checks by Ipoh Echo revealed that the parking touts are normally found in traffic-heavy areas such as at Jalan Laksamana, Jalan Raja Musa Aziz and Gerbang Malam (flea market).
The lure of easy money has prompted them to start collecting ‘parking fees’ as early as 5pm till late night. They normally work in teams of four in the designated areas waiting for an opportune moment to pounce on unsuspecting motorists.
They demand money from those who park at marked car parks, on weekdays and weekends. Their modus operandi is simple. They will direct the motorist to a parking lot and pretend to care for the car’s safety in the driver’s absence.
According to Ipoh City Council, many motorists have raised the issue with the Council. They pay the touts out of fear, as there have been instances where the touts damaged cars of those who did not pay.
Mayor Dato’ Zamri Man told Ipoh Echo that the City Council was aware of the issue but the power to act against the touts is with the Road Transport Department (RTD) not City Council. It is in accordance with Section 50 (3) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for unlawful interference and importuning.
“We’ve looked up the laws pertaining to the matter. Parking lots come under the purview of RTD. Nevertheless, we’re ready to work closely with other relevant agencies, including RTD, police, Social Welfare Department and the National Anti-Drugs Agency to curb touting,” he said, adding that no joint operation with RTD was carried out thus far.
In a bid to curb the menace, Zamri said that council had conducted several joint operations with police, welfare department and the anti-drug agency in the past months.
“The operations are dependent on the agencies. If they invite us we’ll assist in providing logistics and manpower,” he said.
Ipohite Muhammad Azhar Salleh, 50, said he once encountered a tout near the Gerbang Malam flea market.
“Without a feeling of guilt or shame he demanded a specific amount for his service. He requested RM2 from me. I paid up fearing he’d do something nasty to my car if I didn’t,” he said.
Wong Mun Leong, 48, noticed that the touts were the same people. “There are four or five of them at one spot. And they’ve been there for the past few years. Action needs to be taken against these touts as their activity is illegal and will mar the reputation of Ipoh,” he remarked.