Clamping operations in Kuala Lumpur will be suspended indefinitely from November, following a directive issued by mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan. According to a report by The Star, the decision was made following a meeting involving KL City Hall (DBKL) executive director of planning Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah, senior officers from the legal and finance departments as well as the parking operator.

In May, a similar order was issued following a request from several Kuala Lumpur MPs recently to review the parking contract awarded to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP). However, the suspension was lifted in areas which weren’t considered “hotspots” in the city. The welfare arm of the previous Federal Territories Ministry outsourced its parking contract to Vista Summerose at the end of 2016.

A DBKL source revealed the mayor made the decision after a dispute between a motorist, whose car was clamped, and DBKL officers in Taman Tun Dr Ismail went viral recently. In the incident, the man was seen berating the officer continuously, and the mayor, who witnessed the incident, felt embarrassed by it. “The mayor said he felt he was the one being scolded by the resident, and the incident made DBKL look bad, so he decided to suspend clamping,” the source said.

Vista Summerose managing director Datuk Nik Haidi Nik Mohamad confirmed the matter, saying, “unfortunately, it is true and we are disappointed because we have a contract that clearly spells out that DBKL authorised us to clamp illegally parked vehicles. It is going to cost DBKL a lot (in compensation). I estimate it to be not less than RM80mil as we were given the authorisation to manage parking and clamping. We have invested a lot of money on the logistics alone.”

Nik Haidi also expects the number of traffic offences (particularly those involving parking) to increase in November once clamping is suspended, adding that the situation would be chaotic. “Clamping was the most effective enforcement method in easing congestion in Kuala Lumpur and we have proven it countless times in the past. Honestly, clamping is the best enforcement method, better than issuing compound notices for traffic offences,’’ he noted.