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Mar 26, 2008

City Hall plays vengeful politics


PETALING JAYA (March 26, 2008): Ten of the 11 MPs in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur today slammed Kuala Lumpur City Hall for "involving itself in politics" and being pro-Barisan Nasional (BN).

The MPs from the DAP, PAS and PKR alleged that this was apparent from heightened enforcement against hawkers, petty traders and City Hall tenants following the March 8 general election, ostensibly to punish them for the overwhelming support for the Opposition, leading to BN's loss and rejection in the FT.

In a press statement, the 10 Opposition MPs criticised City Hall's "swinging into action to victimise hawkers, petty traders for the miserable performance of BN in the 12th General Election".

They claimed that two months before the elections, inspections by City Hall against hawkers and petty traders were lax.

"There has been a four-fold increase in snap inspections by City Hall officers, compared with two months before the elections," said Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun.

"After March 8, City Hall began to regularly summon hawkers for not having licences and confiscating their goods. In some parts of Kuala Lumpur, it has become a daily affair," he said.

"Two months ago, it wasn't so frequent. Before the elections, inspections happened maybe once a month."

Fong cited the Pudu area, Bandar Tun Razak and Jalan Kenaga near Jalan Hang Tuah as being the areas mainly targeted.

He also pointed out that hawkers and petty traders in Kuala Lumpur are being victimised for petty offences.

"The hawkers are being charged with small offences, like road obstruction with goods. As a result, their goods are all being confiscated." he said.

City Hall director-general Datuk Salleh Yusup refuted the allegations, claiming the crackdown is part and parcel of City Hall enforcement.

"This is a regular and normal City Hall exercise. Enforcement is part of our job in managing KL. We want to keep KL clean, safe and tidy, and this is why we need to enforce the law," he said.

"We have been taking such action all the time against those who violate the laws. Hawkers have to follow the law. If they follow the law, we have no reason to take action."


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