Melaka’s vehicle-free zone must be assessed fairly as it affects many, says Kota Melaka MP

MELAKA: Melaka police and local council must provide an accurate and honest assessment on the move to turn streets along Bandar Hilir here to vehicle-free zones for three days, says Kota Melaka MP.

Khoo Poay Tiong said the assessment is important as the road closure for 54 hours has impacted the revenue of the business community in the area.

“I urge the police, Melaka Historical City Council, Fire and Rescue Department and relevant agencies to provide an honest assessment on the move to bar vehicles into the popular tourist destination, and hopefully, the state government rescind the decision to close the streets for an elongated period,” he said after visiting the site on Saturday (Dec 23).

Khoo was accompanied by Ayer Keroh assemblyman and Deputy Melaka State Legislative Assembly Speaker Kerk Chee Yee, as well as Kota Laksamana assemblyman and deputy state executive councillor Low Chee Leong.

Khoo said he had received feedback that some were prevented from sharing the impact of the car-free zone on the local economy.

He said the move to turn the streets vehicle-free is commendable, but any decisions need to consider the grassroots sentiments and whether the move affects traders’ earnings.

Khoo said the road closure has greatly impacted businesses, and there were also reports of decreased visitors.

“I understand that the state government wants to reduce congestion in the city and provide comfort to tourists.

“However, the move was seen as causing inconvenience when traffic congestion still occurs in other parts of the city due to the road closure at Bandar Hilir,” he said.

Khoo said he had received a slew of grouses from tourist bus drivers refusing to enter the city centre.

The trail run on the weekend road closures began Friday (Dec 22), involving Jalan Istana, Jalan Mahkamah, Jalan Gereja, Lorong Gereja, Jalan Laksamana, as well as parts of Jalan Tun Khalil Yaakob and Jalan Merdeka.

The streets will be closed during weekends, and traffic will be diverted accordingly.

Previously, the car-free zone implemented in August was only enforced on Saturdays, from 6pm to midnight.

Meanwhile, Melaka Malay Small Traders Association deputy president Abdul Rahim Embi said the 54-hour road closure had severely affected the business community in the area.

“The decision to close the streets for such long hours surprised us as we were not told about the move.

”Hopefully, the vehicles are allowed to access the streets in the morning so we have human traffic to our outlets,” he added.