The installation of an anti-climb metal fence surrounding Padang Merbok is sending the wrong message to the public, says 2 Opposition MPs.
In a press conference on Saturday (6 August), Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh questioned if the structure was erected by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) as a reaction to Malaysian Bar’s “Walk for judicial independence” in June.
“Is it because of the protest that happened last June, that DBKL responded by putting up a permanent fence like this?” Yeoh asked.
Back in June, the police had prevented a group of lawyers from marching to Parliament, which is around 300m away.
Yeoh also revealed that the deputy federal territories minister Jalaluddin Alias previously said the field was temporarily fenced up due to upgrading work.
However, she pointed out that the 1.5m-high metal fence seemed like a permanent structure.
“This shouldn’t be happening. When there are fences like this, it’s as if we are sending a message that the field is not for public use,” she said.
“We have only a few fields like this which are used by the public (for playing sports and picnics). Imagine if this happened at Dataran Merdeka.”
“This is not people-friendly … And I think the people of KL cannot accept this.”
Meanwhile, Fahmi said the action is wrong as Padang Merbok is public property and erecting a fence will prevent the community from using the field.
“If this is a permanent fence, many recreational activities will be disrupted. We will support the project if it is necessary to upgrade the field, but this fence seems unnecessary as it involves high costs.”
“Usually, when we see such fences in KL, they are not as high and are used as a crime-prevention measure. This is not sending a good signal,” he added.
At the time of writing, DBKL has yet to respond to the MP’s call for explanation.
According to DBKL’s information board on site, the installation gates, anti-climbing perimeter, and upgrading of the soft landscape at Padang Merbok were carried out from 21 April to 30 June.