Retiree raises concerns on safety, security at crowded Kuching Festival Fair

A file photo of MBKS Mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng visiting the festival grounds packed with people. Photo credit: Wee Hong Seng FB

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Aug 10: A retiree has raised concerns about security and safety issues at this year’s Kuching Festival Fair (KFF), a major outdoor event that has made a strong comeback after a two-year hiatus, with large crowds on a nightly basis, especially over the weekends.

Michael Lu, who visited the festival on the grounds of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) headquarters in Jalan Padungan here last Saturday, said the crowd was massive and recommended that the authorities make some adjustments to cope with the large influx of visitors.

“I just want to offer some advice on how to improve the safety and security aspects at the festival.

“A crowd management and control protocol should be in place to cope with the surge in crowds, which is a great sign that the industry is bouncing back, to avoid any untoward incidents.

“But it appears that there was absolutely none at the festival. This is a public event and we cannot expect the crowd to manage themselves,” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.

Lu pointed out that attention should be given to two aspects of safety and security with one on putting up visual exit signages to properly guide and disperse crowds to intended directions which is important in the event of an emergency as panic would ensue.

“In an emergency situation, it is unlikely we can think straight. People are crowded shoulder to shoulder, back to back, and I am thinking how am I able to get out of this place if there is an emergency.

“Clearly marked exit signs and paths will serve to guide and provide direction to people. Because people are coming from all directions, you don’t want people to run into each other,” he explained.

Secondly, Lu also suggested that the organiser, MBKS, create crowd movement lanes to guide festivalgoers who wanted to move from one point to another to ease their exploration of the festival.

“This will enable people to move from Point A to B to C and so on, and help dissipate the crowd.

“The Public Works Department (JKR) is the best agency to consult with as they deal with road designing and traffic jams on coming up with this protocol to enhance the environment safety of the festival,” he said.

Lu emphasised that he just wanted to provide some constructive advice as improvement is needed for the betterment of any public event, such as KFF.

Themed ‘Kuching’s Best Creative Food and Culture’, KFF 2022 has welcomed as many as 400,000 visitors in the first eight nights.

Running for three weeks straight until Aug 21, there are 323 outdoor stalls offering a vast selection of food, drinks and desserts as well as 90 booths at the Indoor Trade Fair for visitors to explore. — DayakDaily