KUCHING, May 13: The renaming of Jalan Pahlawan shows Sibu Municipal Council’s (SMC) clear disregard of the broader impact, financial burden and inconveniences that the people affected by the change would face, former Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang criticised.
In pointing this out, Chang questioned whether SMC ever considered the inconvenience and financial burden imposed on the people whenever they decided to change road names without proper consultation.
Criticising SMC for being out of touch with the struggles faced by ordinary citizens, she emphasised that changing road names is not a trivial matter, as it incurs various costs and logistical challenges.
“The 333 holdings (as reported) of businesses (including a few banks), government agencies and the huge population of small-medium enterprises and individuals which and who are affected would now have to update their personal identification documents, licenses, their business records, letterheads, name cards, directories, maps and websites and all other documents just to reflect the new address.
“These affected holdings, especially the SMEs, would now also have to worry about the cost which they would incur from this change of address,” she said in a statement today.
On May 11, SMC chairman Clarence Ting announced that Jalan Pahlawan will be known as Jalan Datuk Robert Lau Hui Chew starting June 1.
Chang called upon SMC to disclose the expected costs involved in changing all the road signs for Jalan Pahlawan, which covers a large area with numerous feeder roads and lanes.
She emphasised that since these costs would eventually be passed on to taxpayers, the public has the right to be informed.
Chang asserted that the council should not have made the decision arbitrarily without seeking the views of taxpayers beforehand.
“Personally, I have nothing against honouring our past leaders and their contributions to our society.
“However, there are many ways of doing that and a better way would be to consider constantly beautifying, improving and upgrading the facilities in the parks in Sibu and name them after these past leaders whom they wish to honour,” she said.
Another option, she suggested, is to name existing public facilities and premises after these leaders and since the Civic Centre is now expected to be renovated, SMC can also propose that certain parts of the premises be named after them.
“These would have been more cost effective ways to honour these past leaders without burdening the people.
“Renaming roads should not be the top priority of SMC when there are still many clogged drains in Sibu waiting to be dug and cleared, potholes to be filled and roads to be upgraded,” she added. — DayakDaily