Discounts possible, not waiver, says Abdul Karim on Malaysia Open traffic summonses

A TOTAL waiver of the 470 traffic summonses issued during the Malaysia Open 2017 badminton tournament held in Kuching early last month ‘is not possible’, although discounts may be offered by the police.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the organiser had given pre-warning by advising supporters of the international event where to park their vehicles.

“If I’m not mistaken, there were about 470 summonses. Well, this is just unfortunate. Total waiver is not possible, but I hope also for the police to give them some discounts for those tickets (summonses),” he said when responding to Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa), who sought clarification when the minister was delivering his winding-up speech in the august House yesterday.

Earlier, Chong said thousands of supporters went to the State Stadium in Petra Jaya to support Datuk Lee Chong Wei during the Malaysia Open 2017 but ended up being served with summonses.

He said there were insufficient parking bays in the vicinity of the State Stadium which forced a lot of supporters to park their vehicles at the roadside along Jalan Bako.

As a result, these vehicle owners were served with summonses by the police for obstructing traffic, he lamented.

“I believe for an event like this, there should be some leeway given. I have written to the Commissioner of Police (CP) of Sarawak to waive all the summonses issued during the Malaysia Open 2017.

“I have heard no response. Honorable minister, can you help on that? Have a word with the CP of Sarawak to cancel all the parking summonses issued during those days so that we can encourage more of our people to support our athletes when they are competing in international sport events,” added Chong.

Abdul Karim said he read about the matter in news reports and informed the august House that he was at the venue throughout the tournament.

He pointed out that the organiser had reminded supporters to carpool or park their vehicles at designated areas.

“Actually, the stadium complex has a huge number of parking slots. There are two stadiums there and the number of parking is huge down there.

“But the attitude of our people…everywhere we go, we want to park right next to the stadium,” asserted Abdul Karim.

Chong then attempted to seek further clarification from Abdul Karim but was unable to do so as his (Chong) microphone was turned off.

Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Dato Gerawat Gala made his ruling: “Kota Sentosa, the minister is explaining.”

Chong, however, did not seem satisfied with Abdul Karim’s explanation and continued trying to put forward his point.

“Kota Sentosa, you have raised the point. I think it is the police that have the discretion,” said Gerawat.

Despite the deputy Speaker’s ruling, Chong went on arguing even though his microphone was still off.

“Kota Sentosa, okay, let me say that the police have the authority. You can make the request but no one can direct the police,” reiterated Gerawat, who then requested Abdul Karim to proceed with his winding-up speech.

Before carrying on with his speech, Abdul Karim said: “We can be good friends but we cannot break the law.”

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