Not long ago, while walking along a dim ‘five-foot way’ in town, my knee struck against a parked motorbike in the shadows. “Ouch! Man, that hurt,” I thought to myself, with none-too-pleasant thoughts about the person who had parked the bike there and the council for allowing such things to continue happening.

MBPP enforcement officers are continuing operations to clear obstructed pavement in Penang Island, this time outside George Town. Enforcement officers were seen issuing a summons to a mini-market for placing stuff on the ‘five-foot way’ outside a row of shops. At least two mini-markets and a mobile phone accessories and top-up outlet were issued notices.

One officer was overheard explaining to retail employee while writing up a penalty sheet that shops are only allowed to display their material until the front door. The area outside the front door is for public use, he said.

I asked one of the enforcement personnel what the penalty was, and he said it was RM250; and affected shop-owners would have to go to Komtar to settle it.

When asked if any warnings had been issued, he said that they had not given prior warning. “Shop-owners should be aware as this is an old regulation (from the 1970s?) and we have been checking on this among other things over the years.”

What happens if these pavements continue to be obstructed? He shrugged and said operations would continue.

The challenge of clearing obstructed pavements is huge and involves a shift in our mindset so that we uphold the rights of pedestrians.

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If we really want to become a liveable city, we all need to respect pedestrian rights and ensure that pavements are kept free from obstructions such as indiscriminately parked cars, motorbikes, display stands and even lamp-posts! Why, this might even be good for small businesses, presently struggling during these tough times: if pavements are unobstructed, pedestrian flow will improve as people will find it easier to walk nearer to the shopfronts instead of walking on the streets, further away from the shops.

So well done to the MBPP in this instance, but can such enforcement action be consistent and sustained? Much also depends on the integrity and honesty of the enforcement personnel.

A network of pedestrian-friendly pavements would be a vital ingredient in a Penang mobility masterplan. Unfortunately, we don’t hear much of that discussed in the RM46bn proposals for the implementation of the Penang transport masterplan.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. I am a Singaporean who visited Penang recently.
    Penang need to improve its pedestrian walkway as it is very stressful to walk around the city.

    The people in Penang are friendly, keep it up.
    They told me the present government has done a good job compared to the previous one.

  2. Good job. Malaysia will be a better place to live in if the people are more civic-minded.

    No double park, no littering, no abusing emergency lane, line up properly when boarding bus/train, when possible shut down car engine when car is idling

    • ask the red shirt Jamal gangsters if they know what is civic-minded. maybe they failed the subject in school?

    • But much also depends on the personal honesty and integrity of the enforcement personnel involved.

  3. Your picture must be taken at Sg2 shoplots near USM?the authorities must be firm also to deny car service centres that deprive pedestrian safe passage, e.g. servicing cars at the front of shop blocking the pedestrians. Also those who take up corner shoplot yo use public space for car repair activities!

  4. Your picture must be taken at Sg2 shoplots near USM?the authorities must be firm also to deny car service centres that deprive pedestrian safe passage, e.g. servicing cars at the front of shop blocking the pedestrians. Also those who take up corner shoplot yo use public space for car repair activities!

  5. in other parts of malaya plenty of actions around tradings areas in big towns and cities and sleeping in others. big bucks there. the sleeping areas protected by east is red shirts.

  6. Many ori-maestro hawkers need to change mindset by not setting up cooking facilities along the pavement meant for pedestrians.

    Btw, the 5 shops, one of which at the site of that famous chendol kart, actually belong to Hong Kong owner, now facing summon for not adhering to heritage renovation guidelines. Looks like Singapore owners are setting up good standards eg end of Rope Walk Little Singapore – very friendly to pedestrians with its open Kaki Lima!

    • There should be strict enforcement to stop illegal dining tables and chairs at the car park space in front of those 24-hr mamak restaurants in the evening.

      • You mean the one near the junction of Penang Road / Upper Penang Road opposite Hotel Malaysia?
        I am also aghast at the one at Lorong Susu – stalls occupying almost half of the road space, more than any car’s width!
        Talking about this Lorong Susu mamak stall, if you are a (certain ethnic group) customer, be prepared for a long waiting time for your Roti Canai order!

  7. Allow me to forward a question.

    It is the same situation in KL especially Jalan Alor and Bukit Bintang.
    How to remove drug addicts/ drunkards , the insane and homeless from sleeping and creating obstructions on walkways or pedestrian walk.
    Can DBKL or MBPP (Penang) do something?

    Another issue which i do hope Anil might highlight is that the motorist are
    continually funding drug dealers.
    Yes, motorist are funding the drug addicts and drug dealers.
    You park your car, drug addict or some of you name them as “jaga kereta” approaches for money, you pay and therefore motorist are funding the drug dealers.
    It is a big issue but the authorities are closing their eyes.Unless there is an official complain.

    • Incidence of jaga kereta appeara to have fallen in Penang since the council enforcement have been doing their rounds to check on parking coupons compliance.

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