At a cafe in Central Market last week, one chap was overheard lamenting how “malang” (unfortunate) he was for parking his car at his usual spot to grab a quick cuppa during lunch hour.
His carwas towed away.
Not only did that lead to him missing an important appointment, he was also left poorer after having to pay the summons and reclaiming his car.
And just as he thought his nightmare was over, his wife called.
Her car, too, had been towed away after she had left it by the roadside to withdraw some money at theATMand bank in some cheques.
His friend, who was listening with some degree of amusement, told him that he should look at the experience as a lesson learnt and never to “halang” (block) traffic or he could find himself even more “malang” should the authorities raise the fine for repeat offender s.
The fines, his friend said, should be treated as payment for the accumulated parking fees he owed City Hall over the years for “free” parking.
Last month, a colleague who was returning to her car after sending her son for vaccination jabs at a clinic found her legally parked vehicle blocked by another car.
As a result, mother and child had to wait in the car for nearly an hour before the inconsiderate chap turned up.
You can imagine her frustration of having to pacify a fretful child after his vaccination jab, trapped in the parking lot under the hot sun.
Even the best air conditioning can do little to stop her blood from boiling.
Fortunately for the culprit, my colleague did not blow her top.
In Jalan Liku, Bangsar, where the New Straits Times office is located, inconsiderate motorists are a daily nightmare.
Many would conveniently leave their vehicles behind those legally parked and restrict traffic flow along the one-way road.
Never a week passes without a lorry driver having to blast his horns because he could not negotiate the bend due to cars which were double and even triple parked.
Some motorists are courteous enough to leave their phone numbers on the dashboard if they had parked illegally but many would just leave their vehicles as if they owned the roads.
Tempers would flare but usually the habitual offenders have become so impervious to scoldings that leaving their cars where they pleased had become second nature.
Kudos to City Hall and the traffic police for continuing with Ops Halang.
The former has fulfilled the m ayo r ’s promise that this year would be the Year of Enforcement.
Hopefully, by towing away the obstructing vehicles, the owners would toe the line the next time.
Carried out regularly, Ops Halang might even cultivate a culture of good parking manners among some of the rude motorists in the city.
Of course, City Hall has to be fair to motorists in areas where there is an acute shortage of parking space.
In business districts, greedy business owners have worsened the parking shortage by claiming the parking lot in front of their shops as their own, usually by placing boxes and broken chair s.
In the case of workshops and car accessories shop, several parking lots are sometimes marked using tyres and other tools of the trade.
City Hall should also take action against restaurant operators who stake their claim on parking lots by setting up tables and chairs for the night’s alfresco dining.
In areas where parking space is scarce, gobbling up parking space is worse than obstructing traffic.
If City Hall turns a blind eye to this Ops Halang, then it will be very “malang” indeed.