MELAKA, The Melaka state government has never intended to penalise traders around Banda Hilir here who are affected by the road closures due to the implementation of the three-day vehicle-free zone, planned to be carried out on a weekly basis beginning every Friday.

Melaka chief minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh said the closures were still at a trial period and a detailed study was being conducted from all aspects, especially the dispersal of traffic to smoothen the movement of vehicles in and out of the area.

“We are still waiting for feedback from all parties to ensure this initiative will improve the tourism sector in Melaka and bring good returns to the people.

“The state government is not being cruel in closing the roads till traders can conduct business and hinder tourists, but we need more tourists to come to Melaka in conjunction with Visit Melaka Year 2024 and the comfort of both tourists and locals are of utmost importance,’ he told reporters after the close of the 2023 Pantai Pueteri Megasurf event here today.

He said the government was also trying to identify the best methods to bring tourists into Banda Hilir and boost businesses in the tourist hotspot, and urged everyone to be patient over the vehicle-free zone implementation.

“Traders are the state government’s tourism partners and Melaka will surely be greater next year with these current improvements,’ he said after media outlets reported that the state government had extended the duration of the vehicle-free zone to three days, from 6 pm Friday to midnight, Sunday, as opposed to the previous two days.

The announcement had been greeted with negative reactions from the public, with many urging the government to revert to the previous period of two-days, from 6 pm, Saturday to midnight, Sunday.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency