GEORGE TOWN: The turnout at the Penang Street Food Festival organised by the state government which reportedly saw some 150,000 people attending could have been exaggerated, claimed a Penang Gerakan man.
Its Youth Committee member Ooi Yong Ching in criticising the play-up of numbers said the figure given was dubious and “hard to believe” given the total number of hotel rooms which stood at 24,000 in the state, as stated by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in August this year.
Ooi claimed a figure of 150,000 if divided by four occupants per room would bring about a total of 37,500 rooms, which exceeded the number of hotel rooms available in Penang.
He added that this would also mean all the rooms available would have been fully booked but claimed that checks showed otherwise.
“Although Penang has 1,000 units of homestays which can take in five, it is still impossible to sustain the volume.
“So then where did the rest stay? Don’t tell me they had camped out in tents around Penang?” asked Ooi.
He claimed that he had personally gone to the festival to see the turnout for himself. He further alleged that if the turnout had been as great as claimed then it would have caused major congestion in Penang at that time which he claimed did not happen.
“If they had used transportation to get to Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai) where the festival was held, then let’s say a motorcar ferried four passengers and motorcycles having two passengers each, then the area would have seen a total of 37,500 motorcars and 75,000 motorcycles and if they had all gone by bus which could accommodate 40 passengers then the place would have seen 3,750 buses.
“Just imagine if that really had happened? It would have been catastrophic!” he added.
He said that the fact that there were only 100 stalls opened during the festival meant that on average, each stall would have had to prepare food for 1,500 people.
“Could it be that the food stall prepared 1,500 plates of Char Koay Teow on that day?” he asked.
The two-day street food festival involving some 100 stalls served up various cuisines from Nasi Kandar to Curry Mee.
The festival was launched by Lim who remarked that they were confident of drawing a larger crowd than the 120,000 who attended the previous festival in April this year. – MO