By A. Jeyaraj
During the months of June and July, MBI organised a programme to publicise, and for the public to review, the Perak Structural Plan 2040. On signing the register, I noticed that I was the fourth person collecting the document. The three persons before me had not written their names and only one person wrote NGO as his designation.
It is a thick book and is not meant to be read sitting next to a receptionist’s counter. It is not easy to understand and is not written for the layman. It is technical. We gave up reading and flipped through the pages and just glanced at the section on health and noticed that all the hospitals in Ipoh were listed. I am not sure whether new ones would be built. We returned the document.
Some years ago when Ipoh Structural Plan 2020 was made public, there was an exhibition at the MBI lobby. Important sections were displayed on notice boards. Quite a number of people visited the exhibition. Why not do the same for the Perak Plan?
There was little publicity and I spoke to a number of youngsters and they were not aware of the programme organised by MBI. These are the people who would be affected by the plan. The message has not reached the target group. I do not remember reading any news about the exhibition in NST, the paper I subscribe to.
Some years ago I attended a forum on local councils and one of the speakers was talking about structural plans and said that it was intentionally written in such a way to make sure that an ordinary person cannot understand. I think other than those in the field, the man in the street would not be able to understand.
This is a very important document and is going to decide our fate over the next 20 years or so. Every citizen must know what is in it and how it is going to affect him.
The state government cannot wash its hands by saying that the document was made available to the public for comments and they did not receive any comments. The public are not in a position to comment. Public forums must be held to explain what is in it.
Since the government is not keen on explaining the document to the public, NGOs like Ipoh City Watch, Ratepayers Association and other professional bodies must take the initiative to explain the structural plan to the public.
There is public form on Perak Structure Plan 2040. Who are entitled to participate in this discussion?
Money and time have been spent to come up with this plan, but what is the point when the people who are going to be affected are not aware of it and do not know its contents.