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New Year revelry exposes KL City Hall’s urban planning failure

File photo: KLCC New Year crowd

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The claustrophobic scenes last night shows up the authorities failure in public space management, writes JD Lovrenciear.

The tens of thousands of people who poured into towns and cities throughout the country to celebrate the dawning of the new year 2019 echoed the hopes and aspirations of millions of Malaysians.

Despite all the poisoned rhetoric and antics of religious and racial hard-liners, it was eye-opening to see Malays, Chinese, Indians and our fellow citizens from Sabah and Sarawak pour onto the various event gathering locations from Putrajaya to Penang.

The vicinity of the iconic KLCC was transformed into a sea of people as revellers started pouring in from as early as 9pm to witness and welcome the dawning of a new year for the new Malaysia.

What was very telling is that safety and security was tested to the hilt. Clearly, Kuala Lumpur city dwellers and tourists have been denied a safe space to hold such celebrations in high spirits. The sea of tens of thousands who poured into KLCC to partake in the highlights of the midnight cheer were left with only shoulder room.

The flow of crowds was potentially disastrous. Even a momentary push could have created a stampede of sorts. The area around KLCC could have enjoyed a huge scenic park to enable citizens and visitors to gather for such events, but such a space was not planned by the city authorities.

Instead every breathable space was taken up to make more money. Indeed it was a frightening sight to see the immense crowds being locked up inside KLCC because the exits could not hold the swelling crowds.

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It was equally claustrophobic taking the LRT to KLCC with hardly room to plant your feet.

The flow of hunan traffic at The KLCC area was maddening with inadequate entry and and exit points.

As such, it is time to admit early into the new year that our Kuala Lumpur City Hall authorities and their political masters, whether past or present, have failed miserably to cater for a growing city population.

With such mass celebration now a global trends, we have obviously failed hopelessly to plan for such events. The New Year revelry has exposed the total failure of our country’s public space management and development.

We need an immediate task force empowered to rework and put a stop to the maddening craze for making money with commercial development, which has clearly robbed citizens of open spaces to gather in unity to celebrate big occasions with ease and comfort.

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