Act against irresponsible food truck operators

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Action ought to be taken against irresponsible food truck operators and eateries that spread tables and chairs to occupy public parking lots, sidewalks and five-footways.

There are good and bad people in every job or occupation and food truck operators are no exception. Those who work doubly hard to put food on the table for their families are much to be admired. Those that serve delicious foods and drinks at reasonable prices are patronised by many regular customers.

As they usually operate at highly visible spots, there is no need to point out to the local authorities where they are found, unless enforcement officers turn a blind eye. While many occupy public parking lots, others are double-parked or at junctions obstructing traffic flow but tolerated by many people.

However, there is one operator that blatantly park his food truck on the sidewalk along Jalan Perkasa near the Jalan Pria junction at Taman Maluri in Kuala Lumpur towards the evening, completely blocking passers-by and forcing pedestrians to walk dangerously on the busy thoroughfare.

As tiles placed on the sidewalk could only withstand the weight of pedestrians, the heavy pressure exerted by the food truck had broken many tiles. Anyone, especially the elderly, walking over broken tiles or uneven ground could easily trip and fall.

Worse, those who trip would immediately try to regain their balance and may stumble onto the road and roll over by a passing vehicle rushing to cross the traffic light before it turns amber or red. And yet the food truck driver had the audacity to carry on with his business regardless of public safety.

If Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had chosen to be progressive, all the temporary stalls located at this traffic light junction would have been demolished and a slip road built for vehicles to turn into Jalan Pria without having to stop at the traffic light, which is the first bottleneck along busy Jalan Perkasa.

Instead, DBKL had no qualms in taking a regressive step recently by permitting more food stalls in the area by allowing the mini public park at Jalan Perkasa to be used for selling foods and drinks, which is unprecedented. It would be a matter of time for the park to be teeming with stray dogs, cats and rats.

Apart from cars parked illegally and blocking traffic along chock-a-block Jalan Perkasa, residents in the area are up in arms against traffic and vehicles blocking their entries and exits. Visitors are no doubt happy as the new stalls lend an air of festivity, much like visiting a pasar malam or Ramadan bazaar.

Taman Maluri is a well-planned township nearest the city centre with clear demarcation for housing, shopping and recreation. Houses were built on both sides of Jalan Perkasa and more than enough shophouses on both sides of Jalan Mahkota. A mini public park provides the green lung for the area.

But those in charge of this department in DBKL appear to be clueless. For over half a century, residents in Taman Maluri enjoyed the serenity until harmony was shattered by allowing food stalls to operate inside the mini public park, which was recently opened with great fanfare and much traffic congestion.

Residents are well served by three clusters of food stalls located at Jalan Perkasa 1, Jalan Jejaka 2 and Jalan Jejaka 3, apart from the large number of coffeeshops and restaurants. The new stalls at the park are spotted by thousands of passing motorists daily, with many stopping dangerously to check out.

Kuala Lumpur may have become a Federal Territory in 1974, but the city has regressed as much as it had progressed, mainly due to imprudent policies. Without leadership and modernisation on all fronts, the metropolis will remain backward, a natural consequence for sticking to the old ways and habits.

But blatant disregard of the public and lack of enforcement are not acceptable and should not continue unabated. Hence, action ought to be taken against irresponsible food truck operators and eateries that spread tables and chairs to occupy public parking lots, sidewalks and five-footways.

The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader CY Ming of Ampang.