Gabungan Patriotisme dan Perpaduan Kebangsaan (GPPK) endorses the call to form a “coalition of NGOs, political leaders, city councillors, planners and resident associations to fight for walkable pedestrian streets in cities and form more livable cities”.
The former Land Public Transport Commission official Wan Agyl Wan Hassan after all cannot be wrong in calling for the authorities to relook city planning and to improve walkability and disability access.
The absolute disregard and lack of walkable streets in city centres, townships and even in the federal capital of Kuala Lumpur is a mockery as well as a sheer dereliction of duty to the people’s safety, comfort and ease of commuting.
It is unthinkable how for decades we have allowed the chasing after development in the name of national progress but have completely erased the need for walkability along streets, near impressive high-rise buildings and state-of-the art facilities in and around our cities and even townships.
As pointed out by Wan Agyl, having “wider walkways with proper lighting, sitting areas, and curbside designs that allow access for people with disabilities” have been given mere cosmetic and lip service by the authorities.
GPPK agrees that the failure on the part of the authorities to truly commit to town and city planning is because they are not oriented towards being “research-minded and possess(ing) proper knowledge to efficiently improve walkway conditions” as was spelt out by the Penang planning Appeal Board member Amir Fawzi Baharudin.
GPPK calls out to all citizens and organisations to join the demand to overhaul our long neglected pedestrain walkways in the country.
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GPPK will commit to galvanise its partnering NGOs and join the fight to demand affirmative changes that can make our nation come on par with fast-developing nations as well and emulate the people-friendly streets of many developed nations.
We also call out to developers to demonstrate meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) by commiting to transform our cities and townships, with walkways forming an integral part of their business endeavours.
They have a categorical duty to partner [with others in] nation-building and not see projects as mere economic and financial opportunities for their own business interests.
Stanley Yong is deputy chairman of the National Patriotism and Unity Coalition (GPPK)