Drama unfolds at Miri Waterfront over ‘lost’ parking lots

MIRI: An MP and an assemblyman lost their cool in the sweltering heat here yesterday morning – shouting and shoving at a representative of Marina Park developer over parking lots at Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre.

Dr Teo stops the contractor and developer from continuing with the work at Miri Waterfront Commercial Centre while policemen keep watch.

The drama was witnessed by a sizeable crowd of curious onlookers from the shophouses and offices in the vicinity and a police team called to the scene.

Miri MP Dr Michael Teo and Pujut assemblyman Fong Pau Teck were angry after a heated argument with representative from the developer who insisted that the project was legal and above board.

Both had earlier on stopped the contractor from continuing with their parking lot conversion work. Dr Teo became angry when the representative insisted that the road project from Marina Park to Miri Waterfront was a legitimate development project approved by of the State Planning Authority.

The contractor told them that they were obliged by contract to complete the project, but Teo and Fong insisted that the work should be halted as a police report and a complaint with Miri City Council had been lodged.

Dr Teo said Marina Park already had four access roads and any more roads there would deprive the public and shopowners of 72 per cent of parking lots in the area.

“You are robbing us of our parking lots,” he shouted as curious members looked on.

Several parking lots have been scrapped to make way for a new access road to link the marina with Bendahara Road.

Both slammed the developer SPA and Mayor Lawrence Lai for failing to keep the public informed of the actual status and plans.

“The developer has no right to proceed as there is no approval from the council and the SPA had already approved of the waterfront development project 20 years ago,” insisted Dr Teo who operates a maternity centre and clinic in the area.

The representative insisted that the developer had all the needed approval from SPA, and there was nothing illegal with the construction project.

Dr Teo shoved the representative once, while Fong said it was a case of the big bullying the small players and said the authorities lacked transparency.

Fong (right) and Dr Teo (second right) at the ‘controversial’ site in Miri.

Both elected representatives said they were fighting for public interest, and taking away the parking lots would be detrimental to business in the area. The result would be a fall in value of property there.

Meanwhile, PKR Miri secretary and Dr Teo’s personal assistant, Bill Kayong, demanded that the public be informed of the actual plan and how it would impact them instead of being kept in the dark.

“Tell the public what is happening,” he demanded.

Dr Teo and Fong had also organized a demonstration at the scene before the works started this week. Dr Teo has also lodged a police report.

When contacted, Mayor Lai said he would only comment today (Thursday) on the issue after getting the full picture.

Asked on allegation that the project did not have the city council’s approval, he said road engineering plans came under the purview of the Land and Survey Department.

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