Some are selling right from the boot and back seats of their vehicles.
THERE is a place in Kuala Lumpur that comes alive after the sun goes down.
Malaysians looking for a retail fix in the wee hours of the morning do not have 24-hour warehouse outlets like overseas, but something more rustic — an outdoor street market.
The pasar karat or night bazaar is located in Jalan Sultan and it usually starts at 4.30am.
On weekends and public holidays, the buying and selling starts as early (or late depending on your perspective) as 2am.
Some might call them crazy but it has plenty of fans, judging by the steady stream of people, who include foreigners living in the area.
Sometimes, you can even see families with young children and the occasional curious local tourist.
Like similar markets, the goods on display are an eclectic mix, from an antique kerosene stove to video cassette tapes, household and electrical goods as well as bundle clothes and second-hand shoes.
There were vendors offering collectibles such as old currency notes, stamps and even the McDonalds’ Coca-Cola can-shaped glasses collection.
The transaction is on an as-is basis, so buyers beware!
Bartering is also practised.
“I found some really interesting things such as a pair of antique-looking bronze-coloured vases and an old Yashica camera that was going for RM200.
“Seeing it made me want to play with film photography again as it was quite cool, but one of the knobs was practically coming off so I decided against buying it,” said Alex Nge, 36, who had heard about the market from a friend.
During weekends, the market extends along the backlane between Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling but Nge said he was not comfortable with the location.
“While there are more vendors there compared to the main street, it is not as well-lit and I noticed some suspicious-looking people around,” he said.
One seller, who declined to be named, said that she has been setting up her stall here for the past four years and described business as satisfactory.
“People come here expecting a good bargain.
“We do not do any harm and pack up by 8am at the latest, when the shops open,” she said, probably alluding to its reputation as a haunt for thieves to dispose stolen goods.
Indeed, they seem to do no harm and no complaints have been lodged against them, according to a spokesman from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
“We have conducted an operation here before.
“The police will get involved if the sellers start offering illegal items such as firearms or drugs,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman noted the market has been around for more than 10 years and has become a tourist attraction of sorts.
“We can step in and legalise it but that will involve licensing and other relevant processes, which may detract from the market’s appeal of being a place for people to buy and sell things,” the spokesman added.