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BEING FRANK: Enraging people fast and furious

As published in Malay Mail today.




BEING FRANK
By Frankie D'Cruz


IT's annoying isn’t it when the authorities don’t tell you what’s going on in your city?
There are ugly, self-defeating, barricades on key streets in the Golden Triangle ahead of a street car race early August — and we will all get lost in the city soon.


Weep all you want, now that Kuala Lumpur has been transformed into a dreary, unfashionable and undesirable capital city. The spirit of city life has vanished since the set up for the KL Grand Prix began two weeks ago.


No one is saying what sort of research went into holding the event in the heart of KL. What we know is City Hall chose not to hear views from the public, business community and public transport operators.


Few knew about the grand prix until four days ago when people vented their frustration to Malay Mail over the disruption to traffic and inconvenience caused to pedestrians.


Yesterday, City Hall urban transportation department deputy director, Steven Tan Kim Bock, speaking on behalf of mayor Datuk Amin Nordin Aziz, shrugged off criticism, denying stakeholders were kept in the dark and urged the public to bear with the inconvenience. That's supposed to please people swathed in anger?


The police, concerned over public safety and traffic flow problems in the run up to the event and on race weekend, are fuming because they have been hardly consulted and told very little.


Said a source: "We are against the event being held in the heart of KL. It will bring about immense traffic fl ow problems on Aug 7-9 (race weekend).


"Traffic jams in KL on a normal day are bad enough. That weekend is still the month of Syawal when city folk of all races would be making their Hari Raya visits.


"Traffic police do not see much on how to ease movement of motorists during that period as there are many hotels and places of interest in the affected areas. It's going to be chaotic."
There is also great worry about the spillover effect in other parts of the Klang Valley due to the closure of Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Pinang, Jalan Perak and Jalan Raja Chulan.


The alternative routes are a mystery.


Concrete barriers supporting tall perimeter metal fencing and other race set up works on these high-traffic roads are already causing mayhem.


It's puzzling how the mayor and his officers who have made site visits missed the havoc on the streets:

• Narrowed roads that force heavy vehicles out of their lane endanger motorists on the opposite side.


• Pedestrians having to walk along the thoroughfare with vehicles veering dangerously close to them.


• Pedestrians squeezing between heavy vehicles and metal fencing.


• Commuters forced to stand on the road to board buses.


Surely, the sight of commuters getting roasted under the blazing sun - especially along Jalan Ampang where a bus and taxi stand was brought down to make way for hospitality suites for the well-heeled – must have got their sympathy.

Here’s the thing: We can expect this debacle for the next five years since the organiser, GT Global Race (M) Sdn Bhd, has been given rights to host the grand prix till 2020.


The grouses of the people and the to police about ‘KL-prison city’ are not halfformed 2am rambles, not the sort of nonconversation that chat forums can turn into. They are thought-out insights.


Clearly, City Hall has entrenched its reputation for tactless engagement with the ordinary citizen and stakeholders. The public information drive is a farce. Many still think the barricades are being installed to curb rising crime on the streets or as part of MRT works.
I have no intention of turning the event on its head, rather why City Hall turns you and yours.
An event is in trouble if you have to have a load of explanation to sustain it.


What will become of public transportation? Will people be going to work on those days? Will the Golden Triangle be in lockdown?


Sorry, but this event, as it is being organised, doesn’t have the lift of a trumpet blast.


Award-winning journalist Frankie D'Cruz is Editor Emeritus of The Malay Mail. He can be reached at frankie@mmail.com.my and Twitter @dcruzfrankie

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