Dec 1 – The Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique announced big plans to build new roads and walkways costing more than RM 60 million in efforts to boost the image of Chow Kit Road and restore it to its former glory as a tourist atraction for Kuala Lumpur. He further added that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall along with 21 government agencies, including the Royal Malaysian Police, the National Anti Drug Agency, Rela and the Fire Department will join forces to clean up Chow Kit. The deputy OCPD of Dang Wangi Superintendent Sulaiman Salleh said during the same news conference that the crime rate in Chow Kit had decreased since last year.
Listening to such news would not attracted much reaction from most readers who are so used to such announcements which serves to justify expenditure. Only the naive would be excited and would be gullible enough to believe it as the truth. But I am sick and tired of such propaganda.
1. How would new roads and walkways help boost the image of Chow Kit Road? What is the long term city planning for the area? Will it be for a shopping haven or entertainment centre? Without planning, what could we expect? Would tourists be attracted to visit Chow Kit to see what left of the clean up exercise?
2. On what basis can Sulaiman Salleh claim that crime rate in Chow Kit has dropped as compared with the previous year. Only recently Syed Albar reported that the police is moving their police station out of Chow Kit because it was too dangerous. Undoubtedly, this statement was retracted later but most of us were left unconvinced. What was the truth? Perhaps, the police manning the station in Chow Kit were holed up inside because it was too dangerous to partrol outside. That would explain the drop in crime reports.
3. There are big plans to clean up the area involving 21 government agencies but why now? If crime rate is indeed down, do they need to announce such a plan to clean up the area. If there is a real need to clean up the area, why now? Has it not been done before? If it has been attempted before, how could we succeed where others had failed?
Cleaning up Chow Kit cannot be done by just chasing the prostitutes, the addicts, the illegals, the unlicensed vendors away. Chasing them is not solving the problem. These people will look for a new location to run their businesses. They will just move down the road to Jalan Ipoh or Sentul. There has to be concrete plans to rehabilitate the society in Chow Kit. The change is not overnight. The change is not just building some new roads.
I am skeptical. I think Chow Kit will be still Chow Kit in two years time. I will eat my words then if Chow Kit becomes our new tourist attraction because of the new roads.