Datuk Naim Mohamad, Chairman Organising Committee
Christmas cheer and a happy new year
Naim bin Mohamad
Our Kuala Lumpur Mayor might not be Santa Clause, but on the eve of Christmas Day, he brought presents for the children of Malaysia. His gift of agreeing to free the busiest streets of Kuala Lumpur for four hours a month for 12 months from vehicles is a bold step of a journey of thousand miles. To balance the rapid development of a city of a developing nation and at the same time to safe its ecosystem is not an easy task. It needs wisdom and courage.
By having a car free morning monthly, the first step is being taken. Carbon emissions are reduced. Greenhouse effect is reduced, global warming in some way is also reduced. With the effort in planting trees in the city. They provide the cooling effect and also provide the oxygen required by the habitats. Abnormal weather conditions can be avoided and also flooding controlled. This is only the first step, when there is acceptance and support, than more can be done. This step by step evolving and educational program will be successful as compared to a quick fix or revolutionary methods.
Lately the world has been struck by seismic climate change, typhoon haiyan, snow in the middle-east and even the recent bad floods in Malaysia's east coast. It should be ample notice to the human kind to look after their earth.
In a small way, we are about to practise and implement what our Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib had declared that Malaysia will reduce its carbon dioxide emission by 40% by the year 2020 compared to 2005 levels subject to assistance from the developed countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on the 17th December, 2009.
Going green, going car free, increase public transportation is the way forward to preserve mother earth and we are blessed that we together had taken the first step. My dream at long last had come through and soon we hope to have car free days, an upgrade from the car free mornings maybe every Sunday of the week.
We want Malaysians to be extra aware and take extra care of their surroundings and extra conscious of their children’s future environment.
Certainly there will be detractors and some who will object because they are not willing to sacrifice the four hours a month to stop burning fuel and contributing pollution to the atmosphere. Or they will give an excuse that it will disrupt their business and their movements, when public transport and taxis will still ply their routes. When the program is fixed and people slowly becoming aware, they will adjust and take measures so as not to be inconvenienced themselves. Tourists and visitors will not be affected because this had already been implemented in the busiest part of Jakarta for every Sunday every week since a few years ago along Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin leading to the Monumen Nasional (MONAS).
In Malaysia, if I am not mistaken, Penang is already having their Sunday rides along Beach Street every Sunday.
For the inaugural event on the 5th January, 2014. Not all the roads mentioned will be totally closed. We understand truly well the course of the route that is being planned so as not to disrupt the livelihood of the city dwellers and the commercial activities and also the hotel guests. We also had taken into account the visitors to the commercial business district.
Please refer to figure 1.
The lap of honor for the Car Free Morning which is a rolling closure will cover Jalan Raja Laut which starts at Menara 1 DBKL into Jalan Sultan Ismail into Jalan Ampang into Jalan P Ramlee into Jalan Pinang into Jalan Raja Chulan into Jalan Imbi into Jalan Sultan Ismail straight down into Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and right into Jalan Tun Perak and back into Jalan Raja Laut. This event will start at 7.30 am and will end at about 8.00 am. From 8.00 am onwards all these roads mentioned except for Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman will already be open to the public.
(Rolling closure means as the pedestrians, joggers, roller bladders, roller skaters and cyclists pass the road, the road opens to vehicles).
The Car free Morning Criterium loop which will be total closure will cover Jalan Raja Laut from the junction of Jalan Parlimen into Jalan Semarang into Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman into Jalan Tun Perak and back into Jalan Raja Laut. The Start and finish is opposite Menara DBKL 1. These roads will be closed from 7.30 am to 9.30 am. By the time employees come to work and shops/Malls open for business, these roads will already be open.
After the lap of honor of about half an hour which is about 6 kms, participants will enjoy the criterium circuit which is about not more than 2 kms for another one and a half hours for their leisure and pleasure.
Hotel, Business Premise and Condominium management will need to issue circulars to their guests and tenants so that road users will have proper notice of the closures. We have applied to DBKL to also have temporary road closure notice bill boards at the affected areas and Buntings along the route should give good notice of the event (subject to the availability of sponsors for the boards and buntings).
We are seeking the help of the print and electronic media and also radio stations to make repeated public announcements so that residents, road users, visitors and the public will be made aware of the event.
Whilst we want to be a developed Nation and hope to enjoy the benefits, I am very sure we wouldn’t want to do it at the expense of our future generation.