(18 January 2001)

KOTA KINABALU: Former Chief Minister and Gaya MP Datuk Yong Teck Lee said City Hall officials should be more open minded over the Gaya Street pedestrian concept rather than continuing with its denial and confronting the people who are unhappy about it.

"Don't deny the fact that many people are not agreeable with the project and don't adopt a stand so irreconcilable that they (City Hall) may have difficulties retracting later," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Yong, who is also Sabah Progressive Party President and Likas Assemblyman, claimed it was rather amazing for Mayor Datuk Abdul Ghani Rashid to claim that there were only 90 business premises at Gaya Street.

This proved that City Hall was not getting the accurate feedback "because there are certainly more than 200 licenses for the shops and offices alone," he said.

Yong categorized the stakeholders into six groups - the shop owners, ground floor shops, first and second floor offices, residents, regular Gaya Street users (customers, bank account holders) and Gaya Street Sunday Fair hawkers who have since been moved to the back lanes.

"The congestion at Gaya Street, the reduction of parking spaces has put pressure on nearby major thorough-fares, such as Jalan Pantai," he said.

He reiterated his call on City Hall's board of advisors to convene and put up sensible recommendations.

Earlier this week, he queried City Hall's priorities in expanding valuable resources on Gaya Street celebrations which he described as a desperate attempt to convince the people that the project is a success even before the three-month trial period is over.

"If necessary, a survey should be completed within the trial period," Yong said.





Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas

City Hall 'cannot ignore majority's wishes on Gaya'

Kota Kinabalu (17 January 2001) Only 15 of the 90 business operators along Gaya Street are unhappy over the pedestrian-friendly concept while the rest are willing to give it a try, according to Mayor Datuk Abdul Ghani Rashid. 

"This means the number of project supporters is more and it is bad for City Hall to ignore the wishes of the majority. Moreover the project just began end of last year.

"We are willing to listen to whatever suggestions made, in order to make the concept a reality," he said.

He was explaining to reporters Tuesday on the people's comments and suggestions about the hotly debated concept which saw the historic street being closed at sections under the trial period expected to expire this month.

The controversial Gaya Street  Pedestrian-friendly concept had caused considerable drop in business, worsened traffic congestion and reduced the number of parking spaces.


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