Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Don't Give Excuses - Keep Jonker Walk


We would like to thank Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, the new Tourism Minister for the return of sensibility over the closure of Jonker Street market by the Melaka state government

Datuk Seri Nazri said he had “appealed to Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron not to close down the Jonker Walk night market” because “the night market is an essential part of Malacca's tourism sector and should not be closed”. "Malacca is not the only place for tourism (in Malaysia), so I hope the CM would think about this properly," he said. This attempt to return to sensibility must be applauded and supported.

However, Datuk Seri Nazri then went on to cover up for the new Melaka Chief Minister, claiming that the latter told him that the market “will be closed for four weeks as a trial to see if closing down the market alleviates traffic problems there.”  Nazri added that he hoped the CM "would think" about the closure of the night market again at the conclusion of four weeks.

This “compromise” is however, completely unacceptable.  Despite the excuse of “traffic” being raised the reason for the closure, the Datuk Idris Haron has already himself admitted in public that the act is to retaliate against the non-Malay community in Melaka.

According to Kwong Wah Daily on Monday 24 June, Datuk Idris argued that the decision passed by the Malacca executive council on June 12 to close the night market "follows the intention of the people… Now, we see most of the Malacca residents fully supporting DAP over MCA candidates, who have been serving them. Hence, we decided to cancel the night market and we hope they will be happy."

If it is not political vengeance by the immense pettiness of UMNO-Barisan Nasional led by the new Chief Minister, then why is the issue of whether the rakyat supporting DAP or MCA even relevant to “alleviating traffic problems” there?

Furthermore, it is a complete lie by Datuk Idris Haron that the night market will only be closed for four weeks as a “trial”.  I have in my possession a copy of the memo issued to the Datuk Bandar of Melaka City Council which instructed the outright closure of Jonker Street with absolutely no mention of it being a trial or a need for an official traffic study to be conducted during the so-called 1-month period.

While Pakatan Rakyat continues to serve all Malaysians regardless of whether they had voted for us, we are witnessing an increasingly vindictive Barisan Nasional where MCA threw its tantrums by shutting down all their service centres, while UMNO demonstrated their racist mindset by not only poisoning the minds of the people and destroying the people’s livelihoods.

The move is clearly akin to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.  Just because Datuk Idris Haron wanted to demonstrate his politcal pettiness to inflict damage to the Chinese community, he is willing to sacrifice the interest of the people of Melaka and her economy.

This major move to punish the Chinese voters, if left unchecked will only be the beginning of a series of actions which UMNO-led governments will take to discriminate against, sideline, punish as well as humiliate any of the minority races in the country which they deem not to have given support to UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

Hence we call upon the Melaka Government to immediate lift the ban on the Jonker Street night market, and stop using the pretext of “alleviating traffic problems” or they might as well close every single pasar malam and pasar tani through the state and country.
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