Shops in Brinchang close to protest one-way traffic system

By John Bunyan
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IPOH, April 30 — More than 40 shops in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, closed for business yesterday to protest the implementation of a one-way traffic system in the area.

Regional Environmental Awareness of Cameron Highlands (Reach) president Ramakrishnan Ramasamy said people were unhappy with the new system as it cut into their housing area, putting their safety at risk.

“Due to the one-way traffic system, all heavy vehicles are diverted to the housing area and safety of residents, especially children, are in jeopardy.”

He said the trial run for the one-way system started on March 17 and was to end on April 16, but had since been extended until May. The pilot project was meant see its effectiveness in reducing traffic.

“Businesses in the area have been affected since the system was introduced and up to 50 per cent of tourists find it difficult to drive a longer distance to get to shops in the area.”

He said about 1,300 residents signed a petition to protest the one-way traffic system and handed it to the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah during his visit to Cameron Highlands on March 25. However, the petition was of no avail.

Tengku Abdullah had during his visit in February tasked the police, district council and land office to come up with a solution to address congestion in Brinchang, Ringlet and Tanah Rata.

Ramakrishnan said the authorities should continue with the two-way traffic system and assign the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) or traffic police to control traffic as the area is only congested for 20 days a year, mostly during public holidays.

A restaurant owner in Brinchang, Muhammad Nazri Arshar, 28, said: “Since the route has been changed to one-way, road users are taking advantage and speeding along the stretch.

“There are so many restaurants, government offices and a school along the road and with cars, lorries and pick-up trucks speeding, it’s dangerous for residents.

“There are also no signboards to indicate the speed limit. Something has to be done fast to ensure nothing untoward happens.”

Cameron Highlands district police chief Deputy Superintendent Hasadid A. Hamid said those who protested did not take into account the interest of others.

“Traffic jams are caused by tourists and residents parking their vehicles indiscriminately along the road shoulders.

“Residents should instead support action taken by the authorities to reduce congestion,” he said. 

Based on observations, Hasadi said traffic jams, especially during public holidays, had been reduced from 90 to 45 minutes.

He also said traffic congestion along the Tanah Rata-Kea Farm route had been reduced to one lane from two previously.