Datuk Idris Haron must prove that not only 1Malaysia is still alive but that he is a Melaka Chief Minister for all

Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron has shocked not only ordinary Malaysians but also BN leaders and supporters with an act of political retaliation and vengeance that will only come back to haunt Melaka’s tourism industry but also spell the beginning of extremist politics and end of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1 Malaysia. By allowing traffic flow to reopen in Jonker Walk that was closed during the weekend for the past 13 years, Idris is effectively putting the 300 traders out of business in the famous Jonker Walk Cultural Street, that is a showcase of Melaka’s tourism and heritage.

Both Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz and Tourism Ministry director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab had opposed Idris’s move saying that Jonker Walk, the iconic tourist destination in Malacca, is too important to close with negative impact on tourism. There is no justification to close down a famous tourist, cultural and heritage venue that has been in successful operation for 13 years except to see this as an act of emotional and irrational political vengeance for BN losing votes and seats in Melaka during the last general elections.

Trying to weasel out of a crisis of Idris’ own making by clarifying that the traders can still trade but with the Jonker Walk open to free traffic flow is irresponsible and irrational because this does not take into account of the public safety of both the traders and patrons. Clearly Idris is not only refusing to listen to the people and night traders but his own Federal government Minister and senior tourism officials. Idris is intent on projecting himself as a extremist hero so that he can perform well at this year’s UMNO elections.

By stubbornly pressing ahead with reopening Jonker Walk to traffic, Idris is only hurting Melaka tourism in “cutting one’s own nose to spite your face” or “meludah ke langit”. Idris Haron must prove that not only 1Malaysia is still alive but that he is a Melaka Chief Minister for all and not just BN supporters, by revoking his directive to reopen to traffic because that will only destroy the character and identity of the Jonker Walk Cultural Street.

Idris should take heed of the advice from his own Federal Ministers or else he shall be fully responsible for the consequences of such divisive action. DAP fully supports the actions of the night traders to continue trading as they have done for 13 years without any complaints from either the Malay or non-Malay communities.

DAP leaders and elected representatives in Melaka shall closely monitor developments this weekend and would consider undertake a campaign to save Jonker Walk and protest acts of political retaliation and vengeance on innocent voters by BN.

Lim Guan Eng DAP Secretary General & MP for Bagan