Are street performers beggars?

What is a city without its street artists and performers? But in a country that makes illegal public performances or gatherings unrelated to official activities, what is a city council to do to liven up its city?

Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail has admitted to Komunitikini that KL City Hall (DBKL) is in two minds about street performances, recognising their worth to tourism, but also wondering about just which floodgates might be opened. Today, street artists. Tomorrow…

At the launch of Kuala Lumpur Mayor’s Tourism Awards earlier this month, Komunitikini quizzed Ahmad Fuad over DBKL’s policies on street artists, who are the glitter feature in Bukit Bintang district but were arrested during an Ops to round up beggars.

The raid, which was conducted Federal Territories Social Welfare Department (JKM) last month, saw the well-known golden and silver men in Bukit Bintang being arrested as JKM claimed their mime performance was a form of begging.

Ahmad Fuad admitted that DBKL is in a dilemma when dealing with street artists.

“We would like to encourage [street performances], but once we give leeway, we cannot stop others from performing similar activities already,” he said.

“This will lead to illegal traders who use pedestrian bridges to sell things, once they see there is no enforcement of the rules,” he added.

Ahmad Fuad said DBKL has “its own standard” for enforcement, while safeguarding tourism-related activities.

He drew similarities between street artists and nightlife activities, which he said have both contributed to tourism but need supervision.

“Many have been lobbying for night clubs to open late, but once we allow that, concerns about nuisance will arise,” he (right) said.

“There were also complaints against street artists, which forced us to take action against them,” he clarified.

Parisian gongs

Earlier, Ahmad Fuad had unveiled the gong for the inaugural KL Mayor’s Tourism Awards in Shangri-La Hotel.

Sponsored by luxury brand Christofle, it is made of sterling silver and was put together in Paris.

It will be presented in July to 32 tourism industry players to recognise their contributions in making KL a global tourist destination.

The 32 industry players were chosen under nine categories, and a special lifetime award. The categories are accommodation, restaurant, nightspot, shopping mall, tourist attraction, international tour operator, international airline and media publication (magazine).

A panel of judges consisting of prominent figures from the tourism, hospitality and f&b industries will decide the winners, of which there will be two or three in each category.

The winner the lifetime award, however, will be decided by Ahmad Fuad himself. A lapel pin made of 18-carat yellow gold will be awarded to the winners.

Public votes will account for five percent of overall result.

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